Reaction to the booing of Justin Gatlin

Heya! Was gonna write last night, but… *shakes head* Work was too cold – for some reason, they always think the air-conditioning system needs to be turned to a level that’s right for antarctic animals. I think Imma gonna have to bring in a blanket today, so that if and when they do that again, I can at least have another layer to prevent me getting frostbite. And before you go round dismissing that as hyperbole… Well, it’s a slight extaggeration, but it was definitely too cold at work. So I spent some time trying to get warm again. But at least I also remember that I need to get a blanket out to bring with me to work! *grins*

So. There’s been a lot of discussion (at least, from what I’ve seen on social media and in some media outlets) about the fact that Justin Gatlin has been racing in the Athletics World Championships after having failed 2 drug tests over the past however long it’s been. And, obviously, the reason why there’s been a lot more discussion over this is because Usian Bolt is retiring after this, and Gatlin beat Bolt.

Now… I have to say, I don’t agree with drug-taking at all. But I do think that, sometimes, people do overreact when it comes to people who are returning from a ban. If it was me, I would say that the minimum ban for an athlete – provided, by the way, that the drug(s) taken is something that definitely enhance their performance (as in, if they took “recreational drugs” (Seriously, who thought of that term??), their sentence should be slightly lighter – should be something like 4 years, and a ban from at least the following Olympics after their return, because the Olympics is probably the main reason for them racing in the first place, so being banned from the next two Olympics (one while under the 4-years ban, plus the following Olympics after that) should be a severe enough punishment for them.

But we also have to accept that sometimes athletes are under a lot of pressure, and sometimes, just like the rest of us, they will make the wrong decisions. And I find myself asking, should we seriously punish these people forever for making a wrong decision? We have no idea what kind of pressure they’re under or anything.

And, to be quite honest, we are apparently living in a world where a white man rapist can have a six-month sentence and be let out after three. We are apparently living in a world where a footballer that has already been convicted of rape (and was only given a weak 5 years sentence) can be let go because in his court case, it was deemed acceptable for the lady that was raped to have her sexual history being spoken about in court. (And I’m still staggered by both of those decisions, quite honestly – and just proves to me that so many men still seems to think that rape is not a serious crime at all, when it’s probably the second most horrible crime that can ever be.)

If ANYONE is seriously gonna turn round and tell me that drug-taking is a much more serious and severe crime than rape, then Imma gonna ask you to press that X in the top-right corner, go away and never come here again.

*calms down* Anyway… The point is, I don’t think that we should stop someone from competing after they’ve served their ban. They should also accept that they will be tested more frequently after that, but if they’ve served their bans – and Gatlin has – and they’re racing without drugs… Then they should be allowed to race. He’s served his time, end of story.

What I will argue against, though, is allowing people to gain unfair advantages after coming back from a drug ban. Like Maria Sharapova who, after returning from her ban, was given a bunch of wild cards to enter some tournaments. Sorry, but no. She was banned because she took drugs, and what she should have been doing is working her way back up the ranks normally. Challenger tournaments, whatever they’re called, she should have been competing in those, and climbing the ranks that way. No wild cards freebies, nothing. I’m happy for her to compete again – as long as she’s drug-free, of course – but she should not be given any extra help after returning, like allowing her to compete in the big tournaments by giving her a wild card. She should earn the rights to compete on her own merit. If she can do that, great, good luck to her I say.

The only reason she got wild cards, by the way, is because she’s a big name, and the tournaments probably gain some more money as a result for that. Still not right.

I do think it was wrong of people to boo Gatlin. I think – I hope, anyway – that a lot of it is because it was Bolt’s last competition, and they were hoping for a fairy-tale ending, and when Bolt was beaten – and let’s remember, in the 100m, he came third – by someone who was found guilty of drugs-taking in the past, well… I think a lot of people just kind of reacted in the wrong way, and then other people just joined in.

And let’s not forget that Bolt himself said that Gatlin was a worthy winner, and he has no complaints about him competing or anything.

Okay… Gonna stop here for now. Sometimes later, I might talk a bit more about stuff that’s been happening in other sports (the allegations of bullying that’s been happening in some of the England / Britain teams, for example), but right now… Gotta get ready for work! See you soon!

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