Tying Tiger’s Tail to Doping
They would absolutely love it if Tiger Woods‘ great achievements could be tied to performance-enhancing drugs or doping. Forget the 15-18 jumpoffs, forget the upcoming divorce. Forget Tiger eating cereal and watching cartoons and playing golf in the dark. An admission by a sports doctor that s/he gave Tiger Woods performance enhancing drugs would absolutely kill his career, which is the only thing he has left, and wipe his achievements off the books.
The drumbeat about Tiger becoming a cheater as a golfer has been getting louder since last week, when a sports doctor who had formerly treated Woods for his knee injury was brought up on charges in Canada. The sports doctor, Anthony Galea, is not even licensed in the United States. So far, there is a dribble of smoke, but hardly the raging flames that would make anyone jump out of windows. Just a lot of talk–and on the negative side, a lot of paranoid talk.
Who do I mean by “they”? Those columnists, sports reporters, fellow golfers (professionals as well as amateurs), and naysayers who have been envious, angry, jealous and yes, racist about the Tiger juggernaut which has reigned over the sport for fourteen years.
Tiger Woods’ doctor, Dr. Anthony Galea, is suspected of providing athletes with performance-enhancing drugs, according to The New York Times.
The Canadian doctor, who has treated the golfing great, is reportedly under FBI investigation. The Canadian doctor has also treated sprinter Donovan Bailey, figure skater Patrick Chan and various NFL players.
The Times reported that Galea was found with human growth hormone and Actovegin – a drug that is illegal in the US – in his bag at the US-Canada border in late September.
He is also under investigation in Canada and was arrested Oct. 15 in Toronto.
Galea is also being investigated by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for smuggling, advertising and selling unapproved drugs as well as criminal conspiracy.
He is scheduled to make a court appearance in Toronto on Friday.
None of the accusations against Galea have been proven in a Canadian or US court of law.
Galea has also treated Madonna.
Yet talk is cheap, and this talk has been going around the Web and the blogosphere was well. Some columnists are positively gleeful over this development, as if to say, see, he cheats in his private and in his public life as a golfer. He was a fake all along. GMAFB. Check Mike Bianchi’s wallowing about Tiger’s situation from his perch at the Orlando Sentinel. I don’t think there is enough liner paper for all this sh*t. The guy is positively tripping and it’s not about facts, just innuendo.
I know, I know, nothing has been proven and we’re supposed to give Tiger the benefit of the doubt. We’re supposed to assume the best in our professional athletes, right?
Sorry, but that philosophy went out the window six mistresses and seven steroids scandals ago.
The PGA Tour, for once in its life, should be proactive on an issue involving performance-enhancing drugs. Commissioner Tim Finchem should immediately announce a full-scale investigation into Tiger’s relationship with this controversial doctor. And if it’s found that Tiger has been using illegal PEDs, all of golf’s governing bodies should strip him of his major titles. Nicklaus, like Aaron, should not have his monumental milestone (18 major victories) surpassed by a cheater.
Remember the before-and-after pictures of lanky Bonds as a young baseball player and then the bulked-up, hulked-up Bonds after he began using that BALCO-manufactured “flaxseed oil”? Well, look at pictures of Tiger as the skinny young golfer and compare them to the thicker, bigger, sculpted, chiseled Tiger of today.
Doesn’t it make you wonder?
Um, no. Tiger’s also older, chump. He’s not in the first flush of youth any more. He lifts weights. He’s not that bulked up. He’s still pretty lanky. He’s not like Barry Bonds, who with his thick neck could be bull-surly towards fans and reporters alike. Some of those questionable drugs also make athletes a lot angrier; and they made baseball players and football players break out in blemishes, even down their backs. None of the women, and certainly not his wife, have observed his demeanor changing or his body racked with zits, as did Bonds’ former wife, Sun.
Moreover, Tiger has been a proponent of drug testing in the PGA. Not in the ways in which Barry Bonds challenged authorities to test him that later got him in trouble. Tiger merely joined with other top golfers in supporting such tests within the PGA when it was first proposed, and when he was asked about it by reporters.
The Buffalo News, an American paper close to the action in Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa, said this:
No evidence has surfaced linking Tiger Woods to the use of performance-enhancing drugs, sources close to an investigation involving a Toronto doctor told The Buffalo News on Thursday.
Two of those sources said other professional athletes — but not Woods — could potentially wind up in trouble as a result of the federal investigation of Dr. Anthony Galea of Toronto.
“I know of nothing that has come up in this investigation that would indicate Tiger Woods was using [performance-enhancing drugs], and I know of nothing that would put him into any trouble with law enforcement,” said one source close to the probe.
While Woods faces damaging fallout from recent revelations that he cheated on his wife with an assortment of mistresses, no evidence from the Galea investigation indicates that he cheated in his bodybuilding regime with steroids or human growth hormone drugs, four sources close to the investigation told The News.
“Tiger is getting kind of a bad rap with all the publicity on this investigation,” one of the sources said. “The treatment he got from [Galea] was treatment for his knee injury.”
The one source who did not insist on anonymity was Buffalo defense attorney Mark J. Mahoney, who represents Galea.
Mahoney said Galea has never been involved in the “doping” of Woods or any other athlete he has treated.
“[Galea] has not been doping any athletes, and nobody in the government thinks he has been,” Mahoney said. “He’s into human tissue repair for athletes and other people who are trying to recover from injuries. He’s not into performance enhancement for athletes.”
Moreover, the Canadians are more focused on the possibility that the doctor smuggled Actovegin in and out of Canada. As one Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) spokesperson indicated, the investigation is not necessarily focused on other individuals, much less athletes; just the doctor’s actions.
So what is Actovegin? From The Toronto Sun:
The drug, a calf-blood extract that aims to accelerate healing after surgery, is controversial as experts argue over its effect and legality.
It has been used in Germany and Italy. It’s not on the list of banned substances for the World Anti-Doping Agency, unless it’s used intravenously, and some sports experts even question its performance-enhancing benefits.
Well, it looks like quackery at first breath, and may be something that would reassure a patient that he or she is mending and knitting muscles and tendons. I can see why calf’s blood would be considered efficacious. Calf’s liver is loaded with iron and other nutrients.
What’s really within the realms of possibility is that Tiger Woods may be going to Arizona to seek help for his addiction to painkillers like Vicodin, sleep aids like Ambien, and to sex. As to the latter, if Tiger Woods is a sex addict, he’s an addict like no one else has ever seen. And even then, there is no cure for what he may have, only repeated checking and rechecking of his own behavior, leading to periodic readmissions for relapsing. I wonder if he is ready for this.
“What would make him an addict is if his behavior gets in the way of his day-to-day functioning, work, family, school, relationships,” says Jordan Lief, a staff psychologist at the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. “Tiger Woods is obviously a highly functioning person in his job. I never assume anyone is anything until I sit down and talk to them face to face.”
Whether he is or not, Tiger shares one thing in common with sex addicts: His behavior has severely disrupted his life. A first-hand witness to such chaos, “Elle” has been married to a sex addict for years. She started a blog to connect with other women who have been betrayed by a partner.
“[Sex addiction] is often misunderstood as relating to someone who loves sex or is particularly wild, but in fact is really an intimacy disorder,” she says. “Sex is not a way to connect, but rather a distraction from feelings that the addict simply lacks the coping skills to manage—anxiety, insecurity, loneliness, etc. They often feel disconnected from those around them and use sex as a way to self-medicate.”
Anxiousness. Insecurity. Loneliness. It’s lonely at the top for someone like Tiger Woods, who once had black people at his back until he said that he wasn’t black. (He even rebuffed his mother’s people, the Thais, who are not necessarily known for their egalitarianism when it comes to color and race, when they presented him with royal honors and awards during his appearance at a golf tourney.) He wonders how long he can win games, whether his body can perform as well as it did before he began to injure himself.
And when he made his marriage vows with Elin, he found that it wasn’t enough, which is why he secretly returned to the jumpoffs and often left his wife alone to dine by herself or with the babies. I don’t even think it was entirely her fault at all. She just got in the middle of his mess. The sex is a palliative, a drug just like the painkillers and the sleeping pills. It reassures him that he is okay. She was concerned with building a family, doing what they had agreed to do when they were engaged.
Well, Tiger has to make a decision that there is no other way to go but up. I’m pretty satisfied at this point that there are no smoking guns; in fact, that there is hardly any smoke at all, unless your own toaster is on the blink. In other words, there has got to be more going on with Dr. Galea that meets the criteria of Tiger Woods using PEDs. Galea’s assistant is definitely talking a mean streak to the RCMP and the FBI, but that’s because she doesn’t want to go to jail. She could say anything, but even then, she has to say something like eyewitness, and injection and what kind and when it happened, especially when it comes to Eldrick Tont Woods.
Otherwise, I’d rather have Tiger emerge publicly from his self-imposed exile saying that he’s going away to get well, and to let everyone know that he is fine by letting the pictures snap like mad, even at the scars. He’s been badly served by his lawyers in this case, and he’s conducted his own life pretty badly, becoming his own cheating daddy in the process. Let him have space, I think. Space. Let him breathe.