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Monday, January 7, 2008
The Rocket speaks, the world listens

By Jim Caple
Page 2

The world reacts to the Rocket's words …

BALCO prints new warning labels …

"Winstrol is an anabolic steroid that can build muscle, shorten recovery time between workouts and increase endurance. Winstrol is not recommended for all people. In some cases, Winstrol may overstimulate the body's organ system and cause unwelcome changes. If you notice a third ear growing out of your forehead, you should stop taking Winstrol and consult a physician immediately, even if your hearing has improved enough that you can more easily eavesdrop on interesting conversations. Do not wait until the ear grows large enough to pierce. The same applies if you notice an extra set of eyeballs, nose (or noses), fingers, toes, tongues, Adam's apples, testicles or gills. Additionally, patients taking Winstrol should not operate heavy farm machinery, or attach a rope, chain, cable or bungee cord to a tractor and place the other end between your teeth and attempt to drag, haul, tow, tug, lug, yank or otherwise pull said equipment, no matter how strong and persistent the urge, nor how many acres remain to be plowed."

Mitchell takes on another $20 million commission …

Former Sen. George Mitchell announced today that he is launching an investigation into the use of performance-enhancing drugs in yet another American institution: the circus.

"The circus is deeply ingrained in the national consciousness," Mitchell said at a news conference. "I can think of no greater perverse adolescent pleasure than to hand a mean, unshaven carney a couple dollars to go inside the sideshow and stare at the 800-pound man, the Siamese twins and the two-headed, six-legged calves. But sadly, circus operators have ignored the widespread problem of InHuman Growth Hormone and other body-altering drugs in their business.

"This chemical culture is now so pervasive that we can no longer know whether the circus freaks gained their deformities and abnormalities honestly or from purposely manipulating their bodies with illegal substances. Is that truly a bearded lady or just an Olympic sprinter who took excessive amounts of testosterone? Is the man with three ears the unfortunate offspring of siblings or does he have a personal trainer injecting him with God knows what? The American public deserves to know."

Mitchell does not have subpoena power but said he will call for voluntary testimony from both Barnum and Bailey, along with all the Ringling brothers.

World Anti-Doping Agency lays off hundreds …

Dick Pound, chairman of the World Anti-Doping Agency, said today that the organization will drastically cut back its staff in light of the recent revelations by Roger Clemens.

"Frankly, I'm a little embarrassed," Pound said. "We apparently have wasted millions upon millions of dollars, plus a great deal of time and energy and caused many, many athletes a lot of unnecessary stress with our invasive drug-testing programs when we simply could have detected the use of performance enhancers by studying their faces a little closer.

"I only wish Roger had come forward earlier and let us know this. That way, we wouldn't have invested so much money trying to develop a reliable blood test for HGH when we could have just counted the number of ears on each athlete's forehead. And we would have been much more suspicious when Marion Jones started wearing that headband. Evidently, it wasn't just because she loved the 1970s -- she had something to hide. Well, I guess it just goes to show you that no matter what, the athletes are always one step ahead of us."

Pound said that in addition to studying faces, WADA is working on developing a reliable test with International Harvester.

The chairman said that Clemens' revelation by no means will prevent Pound from seeking publicity through sweeping instant judgments and self-promoting criticisms of professional sports and athletes. "Fortunately, it's business as usual in that regard," he said.

NFL playoffs begin …

The NFL enjoyed another satisfying weekend as the media and Congress once again focused on baseball's steroid problems while pro football's playoffs opened in front of a credulous public cheering and betting on players who weigh 260 pounds, run 4.5 40s and have 31-inch waists.

In a related story, Shawne Merriman and Rodney Harrison signed lucrative deals to endorse athletic apparel and farm equipment.

Jim Caple is a senior writer for ESPN.com. He can be reached here. His Web site, jimcaple.net, includes more installments of "24 College Avenue."