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The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Test this column for drugs

Damon Stoudamire, the embattled guard of the Portland Trailblazers, agreed to take a random drug test Friday in response to a challenge issued by Portland Oregonian columnist John Canzano.

To the surprise of nearly everyone, the test came back negative, and Stoudamire’s reputation rebuilding process is officially underway-sort of.

Stoudamire has been charged with two drug-related felonies (both thrown out of court because of an illegal search) and two drug related misdemeanors over the course of his NBA career. The most recent infraction was possibly the stupidest single act performed by an athlete over the past five years: Stoudamire was caught trying to pass through an airport metal detector with 1 1/2 ounces of marijuana wrapped in aluminum foil.

An act this stupid presupposes the fact that Stoudamire is a complete idiot. That’s one reason why this drug test was so important: It paves the way for idiots in all sports to get their acts together and start outwitting the incredibly lackluster drug-testing procedures of their respective leagues.

Another important aspect of Stoudamire’s drug test is that he went behind the back of his players’ union to take it.

If more athletes challenge the authority of the NBPA and other players’ unions, we might actually witness effective drug testing in our lifetimes. Because this is a possible consequence, NBPA spokesman Dan Wasserman released this response to Stoudamire’s drug test, which simultaneously illustrates both of my points:

“In general, we don’t think it’s a good idea for players to engage in publicity-driven freelance drug testing,” Wasserman said. “We have a system in place with procedures and safeguards that should be adhered to and followed.”

The system of drug testing Wasserman referred to is in place to safeguard players against random drug testing. But what’s the point of testing for drugs at all if it’s not going to be random?

Passing a test for any drug is easy, if you’re given notice. In fact, I just typed in the words “NBA drug testing procedure” into a Google search and the second Web site listed was, a Web site that endorses and sells drug-testing solution technology, from synthetic urine to fluid and hair-detoxification agents. They even sell home drug-testing kits so you can test yourself and be sure about your status before you take the one that counts.

Oh yeah, and the process is 100 percent confidential.

If I were an NBA player, I would possess the ability to pass a drug test (ironically in drug form) in two days’ time if it were necessary.

Lackadaisical drug-testing procedures are not strictly an NBA phenomenon. Sadly, the NBA’s testing program is one of the more stringent in professional sports.

Major League Baseball, on the other hand, has a system designed to encourage drug use more than deter it.

If an MLB player pulled a stunt like Stoudamire’s, the MLB Players’ Association would do a lot more than say they didn’t think it was “a good idea.” Fines would be assessed, blacklists would be amended and penalties would be levied. In addition, the current steroid testing procedures in MLB are scheduled, and worst of all, the penalty for a first-time offender is a strong recommendation that he seeks treatment. No fines, no suspensions, no penalties.

Oh yeah, and the process is 100 percent confidential.

The issue remains the same from league to league: Players’ associations are too powerful, and their drug-testing procedures are completely inadequate. You can be sure that the only athletes who are caught using drugs by a league-proctored test are the stupidest, laziest and/or unluckiest in all of sports.

It seems to me that the professional sports leagues aren’t really discouraging drug use at all, they are merely using drug tests as a form of Darwinism, weeding out only the lowest of the low who are too ignorant and slothful to order a bottle of Readyclean Oral Detoxification Tablets.

What does this mean? It means that the only way to get real results from athletes is for a journalist to question their integrity, and demand random drug tests for appeasement.

So, in the form of John Canzano, I challenge Barry Bonds, Jason Giambi, and Sammy Sosa to pee in a cup and legitimize their records. I challenge Shaquille O’Neal to prove he didn’t use steroids to beef up his frame, and I challenge Rasheed Wallace to prove that he doesn’t use PCP to beef up his insanity.

And finally, I challenge three time NBA drug-policy offender Lamar Odom to get off his lazy ass and buy some Quick Fix Synthetic Urine the next time Commissioner David Stern schedules an appointment with him.

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