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Ethics in cycling?

The Clinic is the only place on Cyclingnews where you can discuss doping-related issues. Ask questions, discuss positives or improvements to procedures.

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Re:

05 Jun 2018 16:12

King Boonen wrote:Again, the OP never mentioned WADA. In fact, I see the OP has already pointed out to you that they are not wanting to discuss the rules:

Sam, you've rather missed my point. I'm not debating what is and isn't doping. I accept that the laws are the ultimate arbiter of this, and must be so. What I'm asking is, in the context of pro sport, and pro cycling in particular, is there an objective ethics around the decision to dope or not, or between one 'level' or method of doping and another? Is exploiting the TUE system, or taking controlled products for pure performance rather than illness reasons, also objectively unethical, or is it just smart of even common sense in the context of ruthless competition and financial imperative, or ethical simply because it's legal?


It seems clear to me they want to have a discussion about whether people think that riders, teams etc. are guided by different ethical perspectives in deciding whether to dope and how to dope. Again, why are you trying to turn this into a discussion about the laws and application of those laws?


The OP is using WADA rules to categorise ethically. What does 'all out doping program' mean, if it is not relating to prohibited substances and methods accoring to WADA rules? What is the 'clean' category, if not riders doing nothing that is prohibited or against WADA rules?
I'm happy to exit discussion. It doesn't make any sense to me to discuss theoretical ethical categories of doping, semi-doping, no doping, good dopers, bad dopers as I don't view sport like that. To me You're either breaking rules or abiding by them. If you want to abide by rules and abide by your own ethics, fantastic, but I wouldn't categorise those decisions as being morally superior to simply not breaking rules in commercial sport. Amateur sport, your own life and social life, sure, that is a large part of life's happiness, in professional sport and business, not for meas it could never work in any Anti-doping fight anyway.
samhocking
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06 Jun 2018 00:08

Sam what you're really doing is denying that pro-cyclists have moral agency.

i.e. they are mere automatons who do not have the capacity to make normative judgements about what kind of person they wish to be in their professional lives, and clearly, no capacity to act on the basis of those judgements.

This is contrary to many public admissions made by people who have been caught doping - for example, Tyler Hamilton - who explicitly assert that they discerned the point where they transgressed, and experienced robust negative sentiments for doing so.

Now, please be clear about this: where moral agency can be discerned, it can be discussed. And though it is not fully independent of the legal sphere, it is also not fully dependent on it.
User avatar The Hegelian
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Re:

06 Jun 2018 05:58

The Hegelian wrote:Sam what you're really doing is denying that pro-cyclists have moral agency.

i.e. they are mere automatons who do not have the capacity to make normative judgements about what kind of person they wish to be in their professional lives, and clearly, no capacity to act on the basis of those judgements.

This is contrary to many public admissions made by people who have been caught doping - for example, Tyler Hamilton - who explicitly assert that they discerned the point where they transgressed, and experienced robust negative sentiments for doing so.

Now, please be clear about this: where moral agency can be discerned, it can be discussed. And though it is not fully independent of the legal sphere, it is also not fully dependent on it.


I simply don't agree that riders and teams doping can or should be judged using ethics by fans when they are judged using only rules by WADA and UCI. I am certainly not denying riders have moral agency either, simply you are either unethically doping (cheating) according to the rules, or you not cheating by abiding by the rules of the game.
The argument here seems to be, not only should riders abide by WADA and UCI rules, but then layer their own set of ad-hoc random ethical standards ontop of this to fill in the gaps (I assume) that people feel are perhaos missing in WADA anti-doping and UCIs rulebook perhaps?By that I assume dont take legal TUEs, dont take legal Corticosteroids OOC, Legal Painkillers, Legal Performance Enhancement etc.
The problem with applying ethics is they are not an absolute measurement of anything other than your own beliefs. It comes back to the fact many riders simply abide by WADAs rules and their personal ethical belief (from the standpoint this is their job/business and a governing body and Anti-doping agency monitor if they are breaking the rules of the sport) breaking rules is unethical, abiding by them is ethical.
I would argue, that if you want higher ethical standards in sport, it's pointless arguing riders and teams should lower their performance level to satisfy fans, which is essentially what higher ethical standards result in. Fans should be demanding WADA and UCI raise their ethical standards first, make those ethical measures part of the rules and then 'categorising' doping or not doping using ethics will be better defined for riders, teams and fans.
samhocking
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Re: Re:

06 Jun 2018 06:25

samhocking wrote:
The Hegelian wrote:Sam what you're really doing is denying that pro-cyclists have moral agency.

i.e. they are mere automatons who do not have the capacity to make normative judgements about what kind of person they wish to be in their professional lives, and clearly, no capacity to act on the basis of those judgements.

This is contrary to many public admissions made by people who have been caught doping - for example, Tyler Hamilton - who explicitly assert that they discerned the point where they transgressed, and experienced robust negative sentiments for doing so.

Now, please be clear about this: where moral agency can be discerned, it can be discussed. And though it is not fully independent of the legal sphere, it is also not fully dependent on it.


I simply don't agree that riders and teams doping can or should be judged using ethics by fans when they are judged using only rules by WADA and UCI. I am certainly not denying riders have moral agency either, simply you are either unethically doping (cheating) according to the rules, or you not cheating by abiding by the rules of the game.
The argument here seems to be, not only should riders abide by WADA and UCI rules, but then layer their own set of ad-hoc random ethical standards ontop of this to fill in the gaps (I assume) that people feel are perhaos missing in WADA anti-doping and UCIs rulebook perhaps?By that I assume dont take legal TUEs, dont take legal Corticosteroids OOC, Legal Painkillers, Legal Performance Enhancement etc.
The problem with applying ethics is they are not an absolute measurement of anything other than your own beliefs. It comes back to the fact many riders simply abide by WADAs rules and their personal ethical belief (from the standpoint this is their job/business and a governing body and Anti-doping agency monitor if they are breaking the rules of the sport) breaking rules is unethical, abiding by them is ethical.
I would argue, that if you want higher ethical standards in sport, it's pointless arguing riders and teams should lower their performance level to satisfy fans, which is essentially what higher ethical standards result in. Fans should be demanding WADA and UCI raise their ethical standards first, make those ethical measures part of the rules and then 'categorising' doping or not doping using ethics will be better defined for riders, teams and fans.


You assert: Fans should be demanding WADA and UCI raise their ethical standards first, make those ethical measures part of the rules and then 'categorising' doping or not doping using ethics will be better defined for riders, teams and fans.

Therefore, by your own admission it is both relevant and necessary for fans to have moral discussions about doping in cycling.

Moreover, by this admission, there must be a relationship between "the rules" and the moral values which inform those rules. So we return again to the question of why you insist on collapsing the distinction between these spheres.

You assert: The problem with applying ethics is they are not an absolute measurement of anything other than your own beliefs.

This is a position in moral philosophy called subjectivism. It has very, very few defenders - for the reason being that when we come to more robust moral problems such as rape, murder and torture, few want to defend the proposition that they are morally wrong only in the instances where particular individuals judge them to be morally wrong.

I think ultimately you have a very impoverished sense of what ethics actually is - it is richer, more complex and more important terrain than you assume.
User avatar The Hegelian
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06 Jun 2018 07:03

No matter, doping in sport is only ever decided and will only ever be decided using legal argument as the case is in any commercial environment. Ethics are subjective argument only. Just like rape if you want to use that comparison, cannot be decided by something subjective and why there are no ethics in WADA beyond abiding or breaking rules the same as any legal or rule-based system. What I'm saying is ethics can only be applied into the rules at WADA level. Teams and riders cannot and should not be expected to fill in gaps between rules using ethics.
samhocking
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Re: Ethics in cycling?

06 Jun 2018 09:10

Hi, the ‘OP’ here. Yes I am principally interested in this instance in the ethics of using performance enhancing products, or not, in a sport with the history and economic realities of pro cycling. As previously stated, the laws define what is and isn’t doping, in a strict sense. I’m not trying to contest that. There is a grey area around (mis)use of TUEs for performance enhancing purposes, whether as a by-product of some legitimate medical usage, or a straight up deceit, but even there I would concede that the rules do specify what is and isn’t a legitimate need for a TUE, it’s just that it seems that historically it’s been far from difficult to get around that rule, and near-impossible to prove actual misuse.

If Sam wants to stress the legal aspect, that’s fine, but yeah it’s not really what I’m getting at. The anti-doping laws are certainly a factor in shaping an athlete’s determination of what they to consider to be right/ethical/acceptable in regard to what products they take, but it’s far from the only one. I'm certainly NOT interested here in the WADA rules or whether they align with any particular ethical expectations. What I’m looking at is not just the basic ethical decision to dope or not, but also whether there are any ethical considerations left at all, for both the athlete and the fan, both beyond the line of taking or using known prohibited substances in the first instance, and before it in the TUE and ‘experimental’ products spaces. I’ve already noted Wellens as having a particular ethical position on TUEs, and for the experimental stuff maybe think Kittel and his trial early in his career of UV light treatment - are there any ethical considerations in using something that isn't strictly speaking illegal, but is clearly questionable.

Surely there are both objective and subjective ethics. Society, natural law, human rights, whatever you want to base it on, there are certain things that are intrinsically and generally agreed to be either ethical or unethical. A person can also form their own personal subjective ethical system, determining what they think to be right/acceptable or wrong. But that doesn't change the existence of fundamental objective ethical norms. Doping - taking banned performance enhancing products, or undertaking banned procedures like blood transfusions, is prima facie unethical. But a rider can subjectively determine that doping is at least acceptable/justifiable, if not ethical, based on cultural, contextual, motivational and economic factors. That subjective ethical system might only take them so far in terms of what they're comfortable doing - to only take recovery products, for example - or they might think once that line has been crossed then they may as well go all out, and use whatever they think they can get away with and can access/afford. Even that rider may at least superficially believe they are not being particularly unethical, because they believe that everyone else is doing it too. Armstrong is of course the perfect case in point here.

For us as fans and observers, and in principle, is there any objective ethical difference between different levels and types of doping? Because the sport probably still requires doping to succeed, at least at GC level, therefore obliging the individual cyclist, following their dream, seeking a career, good results, and financial reward, to dope or struggle, is there therefore some room for defining objective ethics even amongst doped athletes, and the various things they chose to do or not? Or is it black and white, between doping or not, and therefore anything beyond the line is equally unethical and only a question of resources, access and risk assessment by the individual athlete or team?

Personally I'm still undecided on this. Logically I lean towards doping being straight up unethical, be it a little or a lot, since getting into defining what is considered to be better or worse beyond that quickly becomes convoluted. But I do find myself subjectively, almost self-consciously, drawing distinctions between riders who seem to dope largely because they 'have' to, and do so within some certain limit, and those who appear willing to go all out, prioritising success over everything else. This ties into the equally fraught area of merit - i.e. trying to distinguish one rider as being naturally better, harder working and less augmented by doping, and therefore worthy of accord and respect of ability, over another. As fans, is it really fair or reasonable that we do this, given the multiple factors at play making it so difficult to actual 'read' a rider's natural ability and work-rate, or is it pure self-justification for why we feel comfortable supporting this or that athlete in a broken sport, when it is really just better to see it all as a doped show/construct, and assess it on that basis alone, i.e. the best/most worthy rider, in performance terms at least, is simply the one who wins, no matter how they got there?
Mamil
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Re: Ethics in cycling?

06 Jun 2018 13:21

Mamil wrote:Hi, the ‘OP’ here. Yes I am principally interested in this instance in the ethics of using performance enhancing products, or not, in a sport with the history and economic realities of pro cycling. As previously stated, the laws define what is and isn’t doping, in a strict sense. I’m not trying to contest that. There is a grey area around (mis)use of TUEs for performance enhancing purposes, whether as a by-product of some legitimate medical usage, or a straight up deceit, but even there I would concede that the rules do specify what is and isn’t a legitimate need for a TUE, it’s just that it seems that historically it’s been far from difficult to get around that rule, and near-impossible to prove actual misuse.

If Sam wants to stress the legal aspect, that’s fine, but yeah it’s not really what I’m getting at. The anti-doping laws are certainly a factor in shaping an athlete’s determination of what they to consider to be right/ethical/acceptable in regard to what products they take, but it’s far from the only one. I'm certainly NOT interested here in the WADA rules or whether they align with any particular ethical expectations. What I’m looking at is not just the basic ethical decision to dope or not, but also whether there are any ethical considerations left at all, for both the athlete and the fan, both beyond the line of taking or using known prohibited substances in the first instance, and before it in the TUE and ‘experimental’ products spaces. I’ve already noted Wellens as having a particular ethical position on TUEs, and for the experimental stuff maybe think Kittel and his trial early in his career of UV light treatment - are there any ethical considerations in using something that isn't strictly speaking illegal, but is clearly questionable.

Surely there are both objective and subjective ethics. Society, natural law, human rights, whatever you want to base it on, there are certain things that are intrinsically and generally agreed to be either ethical or unethical. A person can also form their own personal subjective ethical system, determining what they think to be right/acceptable or wrong. But that doesn't change the existence of fundamental objective ethical norms. Doping - taking banned performance enhancing products, or undertaking banned procedures like blood transfusions, is prima facie unethical. But a rider can subjectively determine that doping is at least acceptable/justifiable, if not ethical, based on cultural, contextual, motivational and economic factors. That subjective ethical system might only take them so far in terms of what they're comfortable doing - to only take recovery products, for example - or they might think once that line has been crossed then they may as well go all out, and use whatever they think they can get away with and can access/afford. Even that rider may at least superficially believe they are not being particularly unethical, because they believe that everyone else is doing it too. Armstrong is of course the perfect case in point here.

For us as fans and observers, and in principle, is there any objective ethical difference between different levels and types of doping? Because the sport probably still requires doping to succeed, at least at GC level, therefore obliging the individual cyclist, following their dream, seeking a career, good results, and financial reward, to dope or struggle, is there therefore some room for defining objective ethics even amongst doped athletes, and the various things they chose to do or not? Or is it black and white, between doping or not, and therefore anything beyond the line is equally unethical and only a question of resources, access and risk assessment by the individual athlete or team?

Personally I'm still undecided on this. Logically I lean towards doping being straight up unethical, be it a little or a lot, since getting into defining what is considered to be better or worse beyond that quickly becomes convoluted. But I do find myself subjectively, almost self-consciously, drawing distinctions between riders who seem to dope largely because they 'have' to, and do so within some certain limit, and those who appear willing to go all out, prioritising success over everything else. This ties into the equally fraught area of merit - i.e. trying to distinguish one rider as being naturally better, harder working and less augmented by doping, and therefore worthy of accord and respect of ability, over another. As fans, is it really fair or reasonable that we do this, given the multiple factors at play making it so difficult to actual 'read' a rider's natural ability and work-rate, or is it pure self-justification for why we feel comfortable supporting this or that athlete in a broken sport, when it is really just better to see it all as a doped show/construct, and assess it on that basis alone, i.e. the best/most worthy rider, in performance terms at least, is simply the one who wins, no matter how they got there?


With all due respect ... you might be more successful in facilitating, generating and cultivating the aforementioned discussion if you were more clear in your questioning, observations and assumptions. This last post is rather “all over the place.” You seem to be having a discussion with your self. You may not fancy Sam’s assertions ... but clarity Is on the doorstep. BTW, I intend this as constructive criticism ... no more ... but ... no less.
Alpe73
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Re: Ethics in cycling?

07 Jun 2018 03:23

Ah Alpe, I have seen more than enough of your posts on here to know that it is a complete waste of time to try and discuss things with you, or to expect you to be able to understand anything more complex than the short, snide, empty sentences that you seem to love so much. Have a good day.
Mamil
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Re: Ethics in cycling?

07 Jun 2018 05:35

The experimental/legal doping with substances not yet known about is an interesting one, but I don't think it has much hold on the peloton or ever has. Certainly no rider confessing to doping over the last 25 years seems to have used much experimental doping anyway. Even Conconi, Ferrari, Fuentes etc seem rather traditional in using the big four banned substances.
The issue with experimental substances/methods is they are expensive and risky. Any new drug costs nearly $1 billion to develop. Pro cycling simply doesn't have the money to develop or even buy such expensive drugs, not to mention, experimental drugs are just that - hit and miss, unproven and expensive with greater risk to health as probably haven't even commenced trials beyond computer simulation letalone animals and finally humans.

At the end of the day WADA already prohibits every single class of new or existing substance/method within the S1 to S9, M1 to M3 and P1 Classes. And finally S0 which prohibits all pharmacological substance which is not addressed by any of the above sections already prohibits drugs under pre-clinical or clinical development or discontinued, designer drugs, substances approved only for veterinary use) are all prohibited at all times anyway.

So, coming back to ethics 'ANY' substance or method new or old is prohibited and against the rules. Therefore I would argue it is not possible to dope ethically anyway. Just because a substance is not approved and listed by WADA doesn;'t mean it isn't banned, it simply means it falls under S0 instead and prohibited at all times. You would therefore have to take ethics out of it unless your ethics believe doping and breaking rules meets them of course.
samhocking
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Re: Ethics in cycling?

08 Jun 2018 01:57

Mamil wrote:Ah Alpe, I have seen more than enough of your posts on here to know that it is a complete waste of time to try and discuss things with you, or to expect you to be able to understand anything more complex than the short, snide, empty sentences that you seem to love so much. Have a good day.


;)
Alpe73
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Re: Ethics in cycling?

08 Jun 2018 09:04

I think it's the history and culture of the sport that make it particularly interesting, and open to various interpretations as to how doping is viewed both by the sport and by the public. Certainly there are some, perhaps a majority of athletes who will simply think that the rules say what is and isn't allowed, and you're ethical if you don't take any of the disallowed products, and unethical if you do, even if it's just one. For the 'general' public and media it's the same - any pro sport, even cycling despite everything, is viewed and interpreted as prima facie clean, and a doper and a cheat is anyone who dopes and gets caught, or ratted out in Lance's case. The known dopers are the unethical ones. Perhaps cycling is a little different in that there is a large degree of scepticism around the whole sport, even among casual fans. Every time I've ever had a casual conversation with a French person about the Tour they always make a comment, usually a joke, about doping. It's just accepted - the French in particular are realists about their own great event. Compare that to tennis, which is surely full of banned substances, yet no-one ever wants to discuss it and the athletes are all simply presumed to be clean and therefore ethical, at least when it comes to doping.

But for the individual athlete, be they a cyclist or a tennis player, at some point they must determine how they want to build their career and what they are prepared to do to achieve their goals. Some will choose to dope simply because it is deemed necessary, and if they feel it is unethical they simply have to accept that. But there must be some who subjectively rationalise to themselves that it at least is in some way ethical, and therefore acceptable to them, supposedly because of the nature of the 'game' and the activities of the competition, and their feeling that it is therefore only fair to ensure that their talents and hard work are rewarded/honoured, and a financially and personally rewarding career established. If we accept that in the first instance the state of the sport in relation to doping is sad and unethical, is there yet any room for some sort of objective ethics within doping, given its context and perhaps almost inevitability, and if so what is it and what does it deem reasonable?

It was said earlier in the thread that an athlete would be silly to dope only a little, rather than go all out on whatever they think they can get away with, and there is probably truth in that, but it seems pretty clear that this happens and that some dope 'more', in a crude sense, than others. For some, perhaps most, this will definitely be down to economic, access and risk/reward factors, but I wonder if for some it is based on their ethical consideration of what they are and aren't comfortable taking or doing? The public perception/face of the sport would never allow such 'fuzziness' of morals and actions, but in reality and in the background such decisions must be considered and taken all the time.
Mamil
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Re: Ethics in cycling?

09 Jun 2018 15:29

Mamil wrote:Hi, the ‘OP’ here. Yes I am principally interested in this instance in the ethics of using performance enhancing products, or not, in a sport with the history and economic realities of pro cycling. As previously stated, the laws define what is and isn’t doping, in a strict sense. I’m not trying to contest that. There is a grey area around (mis)use of TUEs for performance enhancing purposes, whether as a by-product of some legitimate medical usage, or a straight up deceit, but even there I would concede that the rules do specify what is and isn’t a legitimate need for a TUE, it’s just that it seems that historically it’s been far from difficult to get around that rule, and near-impossible to prove actual misuse.

If Sam wants to stress the legal aspect, that’s fine, but yeah it’s not really what I’m getting at. The anti-doping laws are certainly a factor in shaping an athlete’s determination of what they to consider to be right/ethical/acceptable in regard to what products they take, but it’s far from the only one. I'm certainly NOT interested here in the WADA rules or whether they align with any particular ethical expectations. What I’m looking at is not just the basic ethical decision to dope or not, but also whether there are any ethical considerations left at all, for both the athlete and the fan, both beyond the line of taking or using known prohibited substances in the first instance, and before it in the TUE and ‘experimental’ products spaces. I’ve already noted Wellens as having a particular ethical position on TUEs, and for the experimental stuff maybe think Kittel and his trial early in his career of UV light treatment - are there any ethical considerations in using something that isn't strictly speaking illegal, but is clearly questionable.

Surely there are both objective and subjective ethics. Society, natural law, human rights, whatever you want to base it on, there are certain things that are intrinsically and generally agreed to be either ethical or unethical. A person can also form their own personal subjective ethical system, determining what they think to be right/acceptable or wrong. But that doesn't change the existence of fundamental objective ethical norms. Doping - taking banned performance enhancing products, or undertaking banned procedures like blood transfusions, is prima facie unethical. But a rider can subjectively determine that doping is at least acceptable/justifiable, if not ethical, based on cultural, contextual, motivational and economic factors. That subjective ethical system might only take them so far in terms of what they're comfortable doing - to only take recovery products, for example - or they might think once that line has been crossed then they may as well go all out, and use whatever they think they can get away with and can access/afford. Even that rider may at least superficially believe they are not being particularly unethical, because they believe that everyone else is doing it too. Armstrong is of course the perfect case in point here.

For us as fans and observers, and in principle, is there any objective ethical difference between different levels and types of doping? Because the sport probably still requires doping to succeed, at least at GC level, therefore obliging the individual cyclist, following their dream, seeking a career, good results, and financial reward, to dope or struggle, is there therefore some room for defining objective ethics even amongst doped athletes, and the various things they chose to do or not? Or is it black and white, between doping or not, and therefore anything beyond the line is equally unethical and only a question of resources, access and risk assessment by the individual athlete or team?

Personally I'm still undecided on this. Logically I lean towards doping being straight up unethical, be it a little or a lot, since getting into defining what is considered to be better or worse beyond that quickly becomes convoluted. But I do find myself subjectively, almost self-consciously, drawing distinctions between riders who seem to dope largely because they 'have' to, and do so within some certain limit, and those who appear willing to go all out, prioritising success over everything else. This ties into the equally fraught area of merit - i.e. trying to distinguish one rider as being naturally better, harder working and less augmented by doping, and therefore worthy of accord and respect of ability, over another. As fans, is it really fair or reasonable that we do this, given the multiple factors at play making it so difficult to actual 'read' a rider's natural ability and work-rate, or is it pure self-justification for why we feel comfortable supporting this or that athlete in a broken sport, when it is really just better to see it all as a doped show/construct, and assess it on that basis alone, i.e. the best/most worthy rider, in performance terms at least, is simply the one who wins, no matter how they got there?

I don't know if you watch/follow other sports, but I would argue that cycling is no more 'broken' than any other professional sport. I often wonder why cycling fans seem more passionate about their anti doping views than any other sport, and IMO its because most of them ride bikes too. Personally speaking, I really enjoy watching the NFL knowing full well that most of them are enhanced and it doesn't bother me. For some reason though it bothers me knowing that cyclists are doing he same. Maybe its because I raced professionally, maybe its because I still ride a lot, whereas I have never played football (USA) beyond jr/sr high?

That being said, I know several masters racers who complain about "doper" Froome, Nibali, Sagan..., yet have no trouble taking T to boost their energy levels, and strength. They justify it: "My levels are lower than when I was in my 20s". No, ya don't say! *

Are there ethical questions in simply watching a sport knowing that the athletes are breaking the rules?

*Funny side note about one of the masters Tdopers. The tdopers are roadies, but one of them did some dirt racing in the 90s so he used to join our dirt rides sometimes. T and one of our regulars got into a pretty heated 'discussion' about the fact that using T is cheating. Dirt regular finally said "listen dude, you couldn't win a local masters race clean so you load up on T to move up from 15th to 5th. You even bought your wife boobs for her birthday. You are all about enhancement!" T hasn't ridden with us since...
jmdirt
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Re: Ethics in cycling?

09 Jun 2018 15:49

samhocking wrote:At a doping level, ethics are not involved whatsoever in sport. Doping is purely a legal matter of rules for riders, teams, UCI & WADA.
There are simply two categories of rider. Those using 1. Legal performance enhancement and those 2. Illegal performance enhancement. Anything ethical that goes beyond what is legal and into ethics is simply personal ethics outside the rules of anti-doping.

Hey Sam, using your two, IMO if they are not breaking the rules then it is ethical, and if they are breaking the rules it is not ethical. Your assertion that ethics are not involved whatsoever has me wondering what you mean. The gray areas in the three categories of the OP likely include personal interpretations of ethics, but is there someone who would argue that breaking the rules/laws is anything but not ethical?
jmdirt
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Re: Ethics in cycling?

10 Jun 2018 05:00

jmdirt wrote:
samhocking wrote:At a doping level, ethics are not involved whatsoever in sport. Doping is purely a legal matter of rules for riders, teams, UCI & WADA.
There are simply two categories of rider. Those using 1. Legal performance enhancement and those 2. Illegal performance enhancement. Anything ethical that goes beyond what is legal and into ethics is simply personal ethics outside the rules of anti-doping.

Hey Sam, using your two, IMO if they are not breaking the rules then it is ethical, and if they are breaking the rules it is not ethical. Your assertion that ethics are not involved whatsoever has me wondering what you mean. The gray areas in the three categories of the OP likely include personal interpretations of ethics, but is there someone who would argue that breaking the rules/laws is anything but not ethical?


IMHO, when it comes to professional cycling, "legal=ethical" is good enough ... is as good as it gets, as a cyclist or as a cycling fan.

For example, to maintain that a TUE is somehow "unethical" ... has limited substance with which to make a "meaningful" value judgement on an athlete. On a good day, "Ethics" (over and above legal-procedural directives) can be fraught with so much vaguity/ambiguity ... involving a multitude of contextual and linguo-cultural variables ... that it is rendered impotent as a measure in passing meaningful judgement.
Alpe73
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Re: Ethics in cycling?

10 Jun 2018 05:30

Alpe73 wrote:
IMHO, when it comes to professional cycling, "legal=ethical" is good enough ... is as good as it gets, as a cyclist or as a cycling fan.


As I pointed out a couple of months ago, Froome himself doesn't agree with you:

Froome said in a statement released on his personal Twitter account “I take my position in the sport very seriously and I know that I have to not only abide by the rules, but also go above and beyond that to set a good example both morally and ethically,” said Froome, who was speaking for the first time since he and Wiggins had their medical data hacked by Fancy Bears.


Froome clearly recognizes that there's an ethical element that isn't satisfied simply by strictly following the rules. Yet even as he says this, he rationalizes racing with an AAF because the rules allow it, and because other riders allegedly also did it. He pays lip service to ethics, but has no problem discarding them when their consequences are inconvenient.

“It is clear that the TUE system is open to abuse and I believe that this is something that the UCI and Wada needs to urgently address. At the same time there are athletes who not only abide by the rules that are in place, but also those of fair play. I have never had a ‘win-at-all-costs’ approach in this regard,” he said. “I am not looking to push the boundaries of the rules. I believe that this is something that athletes need to take responsibility for themselves, until more stringent protocols can be put in place.” '


Again, this smacks of hypocrisy. He's using every legal trick he can in an attempt to explain a positive that has no obvious explanation involving following the rules. It appears that he's taking the last resort approach of arguing that a long-established test is invalid. This is rather like a driver, caught doing 70 mph in a 50 mph zone and unable to dispute the radar evidence, claiming that 50 mph is too slow a maximum for that stretch of road, that driving 70 on it is perfectly safe. If this isn't pushing the boundaries of the rules, I don't know what is.

So Froome clearly understand the distinction between the rules and ethics, and claims he wants to act ethically as well as legally. It's just that he doesn't really mean it. Ethical behavior is painful, it hurts. If it didn't, there wouldn't be any value to it.
Merckx index
Senior Member
 
Posts: 3,618
Joined: 27 Jul 2010 19:19

Re: Ethics in cycling?

10 Jun 2018 07:36

Merckx index wrote:
Alpe73 wrote:
IMHO, when it comes to professional cycling, "legal=ethical" is good enough ... is as good as it gets, as a cyclist or as a cycling fan.


As I pointed out a couple of months ago, Froome himself doesn't agree with you:

Froome said in a statement released on his personal Twitter account “I take my position in the sport very seriously and I know that I have to not only abide by the rules, but also go above and beyond that to set a good example both morally and ethically,” said Froome, who was speaking for the first time since he and Wiggins had their medical data hacked by Fancy Bears.


Froome clearly recognizes that there's an ethical element that isn't satisfied simply by strictly following the rules. Yet even as he says this, he rationalizes racing with an AAF because the rules allow it, and because other riders allegedly also did it. He pays lip service to ethics, but has no problem discarding them when their consequences are inconvenient.

“It is clear that the TUE system is open to abuse and I believe that this is something that the UCI and Wada needs to urgently address. At the same time there are athletes who not only abide by the rules that are in place, but also those of fair play. I have never had a ‘win-at-all-costs’ approach in this regard,” he said. “I am not looking to push the boundaries of the rules. I believe that this is something that athletes need to take responsibility for themselves, until more stringent protocols can be put in place.” '


Again, this smacks of hypocrisy. He's using every legal trick he can in an attempt to explain a positive that has no obvious explanation involving following the rules. It appears that he's taking the last resort approach of arguing that a long-established test is invalid. This is rather like a driver, caught doing 70 mph in a 50 mph zone and unable to dispute the radar evidence, claiming that 50 mph is too slow a maximum for that stretch of road, that driving 70 on it is perfectly safe. If this isn't pushing the boundaries of the rules, I don't know what is.

So Froome clearly understand the distinction between the rules and ethics, and claims he wants to act ethically as well as legally. It's just that he doesn't really mean it. Ethical behavior is painful, it hurts. If it didn't, there wouldn't be any value to it.




* Late Edit*

First ... this is an open-ended topic/thread, right? .... I mean .... it's not directed in any way towards SKY or Froome, in particular, right. :rolleyes: :lol:

Secondly, I could care less what Chris Froome thinks on the matter. He truly is a great rider ... but on the old Ethics vs Rules (supposed) gap debate ... dunno ... he just might leave you prompting for a lot more rigor. Not to disparage our Chris ... most of us don't have much, that is truly meaningful, to offer on this, I reckon.

Highlighted part ... with all due respect, MI ... I'm calling BS. Seriously.

Ethics presents us with no easy job when it comes to major issues like abortion, assisted suicide, etc. ... Cycling ethics ... as an a la carte item ... over an above the ethics already built into rules? (Did you miss the meeting?) For what purpose?

You can say things like .... "Using a TUE is unethical." But that's just a piece of syntax. You might as well say ... "Someone left the cake out in the rain." They're both meaningless unless you can convince a lot of people ... who matter ... to make some sort of decision ... some sort of action based on the essence of the meaning behind the syntax.

Good luck on that.
Alpe73
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Posts: 630
Joined: 27 Dec 2012 01:23

Re: Ethics in cycling?

10 Jun 2018 11:51

jmdirt wrote:I don't know if you watch/follow other sports, but I would argue that cycling is no more 'broken' than any other professional sport. I often wonder why cycling fans seem more passionate about their anti doping views than any other sport, and IMO its because most of them ride bikes too. Personally speaking, I really enjoy watching the NFL knowing full well that most of them are enhanced and it doesn't bother me. For some reason though it bothers me knowing that cyclists are doing he same. Maybe its because I raced professionally, maybe its because I still ride a lot, whereas I have never played football (USA) beyond jr/sr high?


I follow quite a few sports. There are plenty that have significant doping issues - athletics, football/soccer, tennis, swimming, and more. It's far from singular to cycling. If cycling is any more 'broken' or damaged by it, it's only a question of degree. Perhaps it is largely because it is the perfect sport for performance-enhancing activities - it's based around pure athletic ability, it requires both power and crazy endurance, it's largely individual, and it's incredibly hard. Probably that is why people have been doping in cycling since forever, taking all sorts of stuff back in the days (not so long ago!) when football players were still smoking and downing beers at half time.

Having said that cycling has rather been a victim of its own realisation of its issues. The omerta in the sport is notorious, and with good reason. But it must also be said that cycling has done more than any other sport, with the possible exception of athletics, to address its doping addiction. Sure, some of it was from outside sources, like the Festina affair, and it's often been a case of two steps forward and one step back, but over the last 20 years there have been genuine efforts in the sport to improve the testing and made it harder to dope. Multiple riders, inc. high profile ones, have been caught, and a whole era completely tarnished. Compare that to tennis where it has been a marginal fringe issue at best, barely whispered about. As a result cycling has unfairly become the pariah of the sporting world, doping central. As I said, it probably is as bad if not worse than any, but it's not really significantly more tainted than others.

But our relatively good knowledge of doping and its history in the sport, and its prominence as an issue within the sport, gives it a unique place as part of the overall culture and narrative of cycling, and probably brings these kinds of thoughts and discussions, on the ethics of the sport and the true nature of what pro cycling and its 'competition' is, to greater prominence than elsewhere.
Mamil
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Posts: 28
Joined: 11 Jan 2018 11:24

Re: Ethics in cycling?

10 Jun 2018 12:09

Mamil wrote:
jmdirt wrote:I don't know if you watch/follow other sports, but I would argue that cycling is no more 'broken' than any other professional sport. I often wonder why cycling fans seem more passionate about their anti doping views than any other sport, and IMO its because most of them ride bikes too. Personally speaking, I really enjoy watching the NFL knowing full well that most of them are enhanced and it doesn't bother me. For some reason though it bothers me knowing that cyclists are doing he same. Maybe its because I raced professionally, maybe its because I still ride a lot, whereas I have never played football (USA) beyond jr/sr high?


I follow quite a few sports. There are plenty that have significant doping issues - athletics, football/soccer, tennis, swimming, and more. It's far from singular to cycling. If cycling is any more 'broken' or damaged by it, it's only a question of degree. Perhaps it is largely because it is the perfect sport for performance-enhancing activities - it's based around pure athletic ability, it requires both power and crazy endurance, it's largely individual, and it's incredibly hard. Probably that is why people have been doping in cycling since forever, taking all sorts of stuff back in the days (not so long ago!) when football players were still smoking and downing beers at half time.

Having said that cycling has rather been a victim of its own realisation of its issues. The omerta in the sport is notorious, and with good reason. But it must also be said that cycling has done more than any other sport, with the possible exception of athletics, to address its doping addiction. Sure, some of it was from outside sources, like the Festina affair, and it's often been a case of two steps forward and one step back, but over the last 20 years there have been genuine efforts in the sport to improve the testing and made it harder to dope. Multiple riders, inc. high profile ones, have been caught, and a whole era completely tarnished. Compare that to tennis where it has been a marginal fringe issue at best, barely whispered about. As a result cycling has unfairly become the pariah of the sporting world, doping central. As I said, it probably is as bad if not worse than any, but it's not really significantly more tainted than others.

But our relatively good knowledge of doping and its history in the sport, and its prominence as an issue within the sport, gives it a unique place as part of the overall culture and narrative of cycling, and probably brings these kinds of thoughts and discussions, on the ethics of the sport and the true nature of what pro cycling and its 'competition' is, to greater prominence than elsewhere.


To the bolded ... "pure hyperbole."

Less critics were concerned about the doping ... than they were about the nationality and the personality of the high profile rider who was winning the TDF 7 times over. No races were cancelled in the aftermath, cycling thrived, media made a windfall on the 'tragedie' :lol: ... and cycling was just fine. Now ... the high profile tragic hero is a sought after media personality who offers the best pro cycling analysis to millions of listeners.

Cycling is a sucker for self flagellation. Total drama queen island.
Alpe73
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Posts: 630
Joined: 27 Dec 2012 01:23

Re: Ethics in cycling?

10 Jun 2018 13:36

Alpe73 wrote:Cycling is a sucker for self flagellation. Total drama queen island.


There is some truth in that. The anti-doping efforts have been very haphazard, and built on a multitude of factors beyond any sort of 'pure' desire to stamp out and punish it. But it's sadly still more than most sports have done.

And note I said 'tarnished', not destroyed. I think the nuance may have escaped you...
Mamil
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Joined: 11 Jan 2018 11:24

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