“If you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying,” the old maxim goes. Athletes have been looking to gain an edge ever since the days of the original Olympics, when Romans and Greeks would reportedly eat sheep testicles to boost testosterone. And it’s all fun and games until someone gets caught. At which point our athletic heroes have no choice but to stand up straight in front of a camera, look the American people in the eye, and lie their balls off. In honor of Melky Cabrera’s recent 50-game suspension for his testosterone transgressions, I present to you a list of the four most absurd doping excuses ever.
4) Melky Cabrera, Baseball: It’s a shame that no athlete can simply have a “breakout year” late into their career without the pall of a steroid scandal hanging over them, especially in baseball. But I guess it is a bit of a stretch to believe that mom’s home cooking transformed Melky from a mediocre slap hitter to an MVP candidate. But the best of Melky’s story was yet to come. After learning of his failed test, Melky hired someone to create a fake website that would sell a fake product that would have inadvertently raised his levels. Which is awesome, if this was the premise of an MTV movie like the one where the teenagers stole the answers to the SATs. But in the real world, people, uh, kind of check that stuff out. Props for quick thinking, though.
3) Floyd Landis, Cycling: Apparently no one in cycling ever uses his own blood or hormones. That’s for poor people -- and losers. Floyd was supposed to be the US of A’s post-Lance-Armstrong helmeted hero, after winning the 2006 Tour de France with both his testicles intact. Then came a positive testosterone test after his epic, race-saving Stage 17 win. Not to worry, Landis told us. He had just gotten a little f*cked-up on Jack Daniels after a crushing Stage 16 loss the night before, which had led to the positive sample. This led to Jack drinkers everywhere trying their hand at professional sports while hammered on the drink of power, and a demand for an apology by Jeremiah Weed, who took serious offense to Landis’ besmirching of the good name of whiskey.
2) Tyler Hamilton, Cycling: Yet another cheating bike rider, Hamilton was busted for blood doping in 2004. His argument? Not my blood, not my problem. Hamilton literally blamed the failed test on an evil twin. An evil twin that he had absorbed in utero, which inadvertently bestowed him with some extra blood cells. Which I think should disqualify him anyway, since, like The Office’s Dwight Schrute, he now has the strength of a grown man AND a little baby.
1) Fatima Yvelain, Running: Try to stay with me here. Yvelain is a French distance runner that recently tested positive for EPO, a blood doping drug, after a half-marathon. There’s a simple explanation for all this, she said. It was raining the day of the race, which had happened to run through a medical waste deposit and onto the course, which when splashed up onto her shorts led to a contamination of her sample, leading to the positive test. F*ck it, Yvelain. You win. At least you resisted your natural French impulses to just immediately give up after testing positive.
The moral of this story is clear. When busted for doping, just go with what works, like Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens. We call this “The Shaggy Defense”: wasn’t me. Deny, deny, deny, lie. The more convoluted the story, the more the public thinks that not only are you a disgraceful cheater, you’re also kind of a dipsh*t. See you in 50 games, Melky. Try not to think about all those millions you lost in free agency next year.