It was disappointing to hear of the positive drug test result for Winnipeg Blue Bomber running back Andrew Harris.
And the correct word to use is, “disappointing”.
In today’s environment of drugs-a-plenty, it can’t come as a surprise or a shock to anybody that there are athletes both amateur and professional who are under the influence of some artificial booster.
Sometimes the guilty party is caught with recreational drugs while others get addicted to painkillers while overcoming injuries. But for most athletes, the descent into the drug pit is a conscious decision to find an edge, that little bit of extra power or speed to make them faster, stronger or induce greater endurance. Something that will separate them from their competition.
Many are willing to put at risk a healthy life for a chance at glory now. Sometimes it seems an entire sport (insert “professional bicycle road racing” here) is cloaked in drugs. Other sports such as curling or golf create more of a surprise or even wonderment when an athlete is dealt the card of a drug user.
Do you remember the physical morphing of baseball’s Barry Bonds? Take a look at Bonds when he first broke into the league with the Pittsburgh Pirates back in 1986, and then look at him in his glory years with the San Francisco Giants, especially his best years of 2003 and 2004.
Everything is bigger. Sure, you can go to the gym and enlarge all your muscles, but enlarging your head? Nope. For that to happen you’ll need to take human growth hormones. Have you seen a picture of his noggin in 1986 and then in 2007?
Cheating athletes in long distance running or cycling look like every other runner or cyclist competing whether they take drugs or not. But Bonds was the poster child for illicit drug use. Despite hitting 762 home runs, 2,935 hits and a batting average of .298 over his career, he still hasn’t been voted into baseball’s hall of fame.
And this is where Andrew Harris comes into the picture. It’s called legacy. Will his two-game suspension impact his legacy? No. But if he gets a second positive drug result, then he needs to worry about how he will be remembered in the CFL.
And it would be disappointing for one of the greatest Canadian-born CFL running backs to have his legacy diminished and tarnished by a desire to cheat his way to success.