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Bob Knight compares steroids to Gatorade on ESPN

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bob-knight-mcgwire.JPGFor some reason, ESPN has been trotting legendary college basketball coach Bob Knight out to provide analysis on baseball in recent days.

Knight is a close personal friend of St. Louis Cardinals coach Tony La Russa and a somewhat entertaining human being, but other than that, I can't imagine why he's being given a mouthpiece to discuss baseball.

Yesterday, the "Baseball Tonight" gang had Knight on to talk about Mark McGwire's steroid confession.

As you might expect from a close friend of Tony La Russa, ol' Bob wasn't too quick to impugn the slugger.

"I have a different approach to performance-enhancing drugs than a lot of people do," Knight said. "My question is: Who decides what can be used and what can't be used?"

Fair enough question, but then Knight really lost it.

"Gatorade is a performance-enhancing substance. It replaces electrolytes in the human body that are used up during extreme exercise, so I've always had a real skeptical approach to all of this performance-enhancing stuff."

There's absolutely no way that Knight can't see a difference between Gatorade and steroids, is there? He's just playing the role of cranky contrarian, right? Please tell me that's all this is.

Knight went on to say that McGwire should have been a first-ballot Hall of Famer and that he got bad advice before his infamous Capitol Hill appearance.

Anyone out there care to defend Knight or ESPN's decision to have him on a baseball-related show please step forward.

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2 Comments

There is no excuse for ESPN for hiring this sad, conceited, loser has-been for anything, especially opinion on baseball and steroids. Bobby The Asphole Knight offering his opinion on McGwire, defending the clown with completely flawed reasoning? Gatorade is a performance enhancing product? But Tantrum-Man, Gatorade's not against Federal law to possess.

Booby Knight the relativist. Just like Selig, fake cluelessness about his "friend's" steroid use, and an apologist for illegal behavior, not to mention McGwire's demolishing the credibility of's baseball record book.

Hey Knight, you're part of the "media" now, the media you hate, though you'll happily slop yourself at its money trough, you phony. Maybe you should pretend to have a brain and some sense of journalistic judgment. Knight has never had an atom of personal integrity and it shows through here. He's a jackass.

Kyle, I think you're missing Knight's point and I'm really amazed at how many people have missed it. I guess that can be attributed in part to the fact that what we have here isn't much more than a sound bite; he never really gets a chance to expand on what he's discussing.

Anyway, here's my take.

Knight isn't really equating Gatorade with steroids per se (which would be absurd), he's simply asking at what point does a performance-enhancing substance become taboo. Clearly, Gatorade and like products do have a positive effect on sports performance and that's why people use them. (Sidebar: It's curious that in the background you can see Gatorade containers...almost like a free ad! LOL)

Just watch any of the commericals from the classic Michael Jordan ones up to the current series of ads, and there's no escaping the fact that the benefit Gatorade is marketing is improved stamina in highly competitive sports...to enhance performance.

The extent that something like that positively affects performance is obviously much less than a steroid, but its ability to prevent fatigue through rehydration would clearly give an athlete a slight edge over an opponent who doesn't drink it.

What I really believe Knight was getting at was something like this: Okay, you've got Gatorade and other sports drinks on one end of the performance-enhancing spectrum that give a little boost, the big boys like steroids, hGH and the like over at the other end that give a substantial boost, and, in between the two, a gamut of products you can find on the shelves of GNC and other stores selling "sports nutrition" with varying degrees of enhancement. Who draws the line on what can or can't be used and why? If a product is performance-enhancing, it's performance-enhancing, whether to a greater or lesser degree.

I believe he asks a valid question. Sure, steroids have detrimental side effects and shouldn't be used, That's a good enough reason to keep them out of sports, but I sense what's buried beneath his words are these messages: 1) Sure, it's important to play by the rules and McGwire shouldn'thave taken steroids, but they didn't make that big a difference in his performance because he was already hitting mammoth homers long before he ever took the stuff and 2)It's wrong to single out one or two substances and ban them just because they enhance performance--that they're harmful to health is a legitimate reason to ban them, but not because they're performance-enhancing, an adjective that rightly covers a wide range of products, many of which are not banned.

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This page contains a single entry by Kyle Koster published on January 12, 2010 7:33 AM.

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