The editor of American Track & Field, James Dunaway, was thoughtful enough to send this link to me, a story about Mr. Conte and his goal to save the world of sports! Please read this story, as, I believe, it gives you, dear reader, a pretty balanced view of Victor Conte, his complicated world, and his goal to complicate the world of sport even more!
Victor Conte, as many know, was the man behind the BALCO scandal. Marion Jones, who has been spending alot of time with Oprah recently, is the first athlete to be convicted in regards to BALCO drug scandal.
On one level, Conte could truly help the folks at WADA and USADA in catching the bad guys, but then, what do you call Conte? A conversion?
Victor Conte troubles me. Conte loves the limelight. First, it was making illegal nutricueticals for athletes-side benefit-he got to hang with the stars. At the end of the day, Mr. Conte is a star struck fan of sports. Yet, the man has done more to destroy the true essence of sports than any person in recent memory.
Perhaps we allow Conte to help track down the drug cheaters. Perhaps we allow Conte to sit as an expert witness and help clean up sports. How does this creep get his due?
I have a modest suggestion.
First, a digression. While growing up, one of my favorite parish priests was a Father Leissing-sorry on the spelling. Fr. L introduced me to Tom Lehrer, Flip Wilson, George Carlin among others. But in the whole catechism area, the good father explained his idea of hell and heaven. His belief was that one created their heaven or hell on this planet and that there was always a repurcussion to any action, whether it was good or bad. We may call it karma now, but I believe, our little mustachioed friend, Mr. Conte, needs a good smack of karma.
So, here is my idea. Conte loves the limelight. If we really want to give this guy a little taste of hell on earth, lets do the following: a) no pictures of Victor Conte allowed in newspapers, websites, etc., b) any money made on BALCO goodies-there are about a dozen companies selling BALCO t shirts, coffee mugs and yes, thongs-should go to Drug Education for young athletes, c) Conte can not go to any sports event for ten years-not a softball game, track meet, golf match, soccer match, hell, professional walleye tournament.
The guy has done more to screw up our sports world than nearly anyone I can imagine. If I could find a way to have him force fed "the clear" on reality TV until his eyes bulge out of his tiny little head, the I would do suggest that as well.
I know, nothing I said would hold up in any court of law, but it sure would be fun, wouldn't it?
In the end, Victor Conte is a perfect example, like Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Brittany Spears, and countless others, who are personalities. In the zietgeist of the day, whether one is doing good or bad, the person gets recognition because they are doing something that gains notoriety.
Joseph Goebbels, the Director of Propaganda for the National Socialists, was one of the first proponents of modern public relations. Under his direction, movie stars of the day, royalty of the day, were photographed with the well dressed thugs who surrounded Hitler, Goering and Goebbels. The fascinating thing was, that, during the thirties, from former royals to movie stars, the world saw what Hitler and his brown and then black shirted thugs were doing-and the publicity was free! How successful was this ploy? Just grab a history book, look up Charles Lindbergh, who was a frequent guest of Mr. Goebbels and see how popular the America First movement was in 1940? 71 percent of Americans did not want the U.S. to get involved in the European war prior to Pearl Harbor. Now, that was some good pr.
Not calling Conte a Nazi, but I sure could think of a few other things. The guy may be the only way we clean up modern sports, but it is pretty distasteful.
Read the following, and please send me your comments, http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/eticket/story?page=conte
and tell me what you think!
Am I on crack, or is it a bit distasteful to have Victor Conte acting as a troubled Greek philosopher, searching the dark alley ways and stadiums for an honest sportsman or women?