The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

January 31, 2013

Mike Pound: Super Bowl hype overshadows drug scandals in sports

By Mike Pound

— Saturday is Groundhog Day, which means that if the groundhog sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of baseball’s performance-enhancing drug scandals.

Really, the clearest sign that the baseball season is just around the corner is the first PED scandal of the year. It’s as American as baseball itself. It’s the sort of thing that will cause members of today’s generation to get misty-eyed when they are old.

“Biff (sniff, sniff), remember the time Alex Rodriguez got accused of using performance-enhancing drugs back in 2013?”

“Remember it? I’ve still got a signed copy of his denial. And that was after he already admitted to using PEDs before. What a player.”

“Today’s players just can’t compare with old-school guys like Alex.”

“You said it, Scooter.”

To be fair, Alex and the five other major league players named in a newspaper report as being patients at a Coral Gables, Fla., clinic have denied taking any substance banned by the league. And when have professional athletes ever lied about using performance-enhancing drugs?

Oh, that’s right: almost always.

Over on the football side, Ray Lewis, with the Baltimore Ravens, had to deny a Sports Illustrated report that he used some sort of banned substance extracted from deer antlers to help him heal from an injury.

When I heard that, the first thing I thought was, “Oh, doe!”

Ha. That’s just a cheap deer pun. I guess I’ll do anything for a buck. Ha.

When a reporter asked Ray about the deer antler story, he denied ever using the stuff.

“That was my friend Thumper,” Ray said.

Again, I joke.

By the way, how bad is the whole performance-enhancing drug business when the NFL has to go to the trouble of banning deer antler extract? Is there anything professional athletes won’t put in their bodies?

The good news is the big-time media morons are too busy talking about really important Super Bowl stuff to dwell on the deer antler story. Things like — I don’t know — Super Bowl commercials.

One of the commercials catching some early heat is a Volkswagen spot featuring a white guy from the Midwest doing a Jamaican accent. Apparently, according to a story in USA Today, a lot of people who have seen the spot think it’s racist.

And by “a lot of people,” I mean “not many.”

According to the story, someone from a “multicultural marketing agency” thought the spot was “pretty horrific,” and someone else from what was described as an “African-American, Gay/Lesbian and Hispanic agency” thought the spot was “offensive.”

Know who loved the spot? A guy named Wykeham McNeill, who just happens to be Jamaica’s minister of tourism and entertainment. Wykeham told USA Today that he and his fellow Jamaicans took the spot as a compliment.

“People should get into their inner Jamaica and get happy,” is what Wykeham said.

All I can say to that is, “Yeah, Mon!”

The reason the VW Super Bowl commercial is catching some heat before the actual Super Bowl is because advertisers love previewing their spots before the game.

“How much are we paying to run our commercial during the game, Herb?”

“$3.5 million, sir.”

“Great. Let’s release it online on the Monday before the game.”

“Brilliant move, sir.”

I refuse to watch Super Bowl commercials before the game. It sort of takes the fun out of watching the Super Bowl.

You don’t see the NFL playing the Super Bowl online before the actual game, do you?

By the way, want to know what I think they should do to Ray Lewis if it turns out that he did use that deer antler extract?

Put him on the rack.


DO YOU HAVE AN IDEA for Mike Pound’s column? Call him at 417-623-3480, ext. 7259, or email him at Follow him on Twitter @mikepoundglobe.