the Celtics Beagle on the latest CBW editorial You're athletic, therefore you must be cheating.  WADA you taking with your protein shake?
   The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is riding high after years of chasing down Lance Armstrong, and today has once more set it's sights on the NBA.  In an article by Henry Abbot from, they allege that the NBA has "gaps" in their testing programs.

    They believe that the NBA should be testing for Human Growth Hormone (HGH) instead of simply stating it is banned in the NBA.  The NBA says it isn't the same kind of problem for the NBA as it is in other sports.

    First, what exactly are athletes supposedly getting by using HGH?  The belief is that it will make you taller and stronger by increasing muscle mass

    The problem is that scientific studies, such as this one, Human Movement, 2008, vol. 9 (1),62-75 written by Katarzyna Krych, Department of Biology and Environmental Protection, University School of Physical Education, Poznań, Poland  and
Anna Goździcka-Józefiak, Department of Molecular Virology, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań, Poland;  and this one, from the National Center for Biotechnology Information, Systematic review: the effects on growth hormone on athletic performance 2008 May 20;148(10):747-58. Epub 2008 Mar 17  all show that there is NO conclusive evidence of an increase in muscle strength.  So you look bigger, and maybe taller, but you are not necessarily stronger.

    In fact, this study, also from NCBI, finds that people with elevated levels of HGH actually have less stamina for physical activity, and another study by the Danish Institite of Sports Medicine (mentioned in the study linked above) determined that cyclists tested "were unable to complete accustomed cycling tasks after administration of exogenous HGH".

    WADA points to Major League Baseball players, and more recently Lance Armstrong and some members of his U.S. Cycling team as beneficiaries of this, but in all cases, they were also taking other stuff.  According to the studies, HGH alone isn't really accomplishing anything.

    My problem with WADA is this:  their testing proceedures are not always followed.  With Lance Armstrong, we have seen that U.S. Courts will not take a case involving the arbitration process WADA offers to the accused.  The WADA code, the rules by which they administer tests and handle grievances and appeals, is written, to handle everything internally, and if you choose not to fight an accusation, they are automatically considered right, and can punish you as they wish.

     But the people at WADA operate under the presumption of guilt BEFORE proven guilty.  In the article, WADA Director David Howman said, "We work on the basis that there's no sport, and no country, which is immune.  Better, therefore, to be to be aggressive in the way you go forward than to be complacent."

    Think about that.  WADA, which makes it's home in Canada, has a based it's entire approach in a manner directly contradictory to the basis of United States Law.  They ASSUME everyone's taking something unless they PROVE otherwise.

    Now, I'm not so silly as to think there's no drug abuse in the game of Basketball.  The death of Len Bias alone should clearly demonstrate otherwise.  Add in the number of players serving lifetime bans for failing drug tests, and you realize that there is a problem.

    But I don't think that HGH is the "magic bullet", and I think WADA knows it.  They just want to get a foothold in the professional sports in the USA, such as baseball, football, and basketball.  They enjoy throwing their weight around.  While I grant they were eventually proven correct with Lance Armstrong, they went on for YEARS making accusations without proof, instead of quietly building their case and accusing him once they had something resembling real evidence.  WADA in general is annoyed that the major US sports leagues have so far resisted their advcances, made not unlike a shady person on a streetcorner, offering them a chance to feel better.  Sound familiar?

    What if they were ultimately proven wrong about him?  How much damage was done?

    The procedures are NOT foolproof, this is documented fact.  They have been known to botch tests and try to use them anyway.

    I support drug testing in professional sports, and in connection with other drugs, wouldn't mind a test for HGH.  But I totally oppose any attempt by WADA to inject itself into the process.  I prefer an independent, certified lab, and a testing process--including an appeals process--that abides by OUR laws, not WADA's laws.

    WADA is using scare tactics to try to bully people into doing what THEY want, instead of supporting a process that is fair, unbiased, and legal.  That is wrong and I oppose it totally.

    And that's the view from the doghouse.