The World Anti-Doping Agency is kind of a shadow international governing body because it takes taxpayers money globally to help fund its operation. WADA is of the opinion that virtually every athlete in the world is guilty of taking performance enhancing drugs until proven innocent. Now to be clear, the United States taxpayers’ contribution to WADA is minuscule but American tax dollars are going to support an organization that is on the lookout for cheating athletes.
WADA has gotten snared in a major problem involving the drug meldonium which is now described as a heart attack drug. The prescription medicine was placed on a WADA banned substance list and a major tennis star Maria Sharapova tested positive because it was in her system. There are a number of other Russian athletes who also have tested positive for a drug that was not deemed a performance enhancer until late in 2015. Now WADA is backpedaling because the agency has no idea how long the drug stays in the body. There are more clinical tests scheduled by WADA to get a definite statement but because WADA, the quasi-international jock watchdog agency patrolling the performance enhancing drug beat, hasn’t done the due diligence about the heart attack drug and that could mean that athletes who tested positive for meldonium in their systems won’t face whatever sanctions that WADA imposes on athletes found with a banned substance. But meldonium is not a banned substance it is legal. And that is a problem for sports and the people who wanted sports protected sports organizers who want bona fide competitions. Do they really care about athletes’ health? Probably not but do they care about the money train that sports provides. Meanwhile, it’s time for WADA to get funding from sports organizations because government has no place in sports drug testing unless drug enforcement agencies have to arrest an athlete for breaking local drug laws.
Republished with permission Evan Weiner for The Politics of Sports Business.