We argue loudly about technology in sports, not so much the consequences of our own. Why?
SAN FRANCISCO--This week, ballots went out to sportswriters across
America to select the next Baseball Hall of Fame inductees.
been controversial since nominees (who have to be
retired for five years) are now coming up for review from the
so-called Steroid Era in baseball. There are two schools of thought
about nominees who are either suspected or admitted users of
They should never be elected to the Hall of Fame because they
Vote them in because not only were they great players but the
context of their statistics will forever be associated with the
"Steroid Era," in which perhaps 75 percent of all players juiced.
I'm in camp No. 2 (for many reasons not the least of which is that
the folks who vote are the same hypocritical sportswriters who,
while shunning tainted ballplayers now, turned a blind eye to
steroid abuse for two decades).
But this kindles a larger question: Why is our consideration of the
moral/cultural consequences of all technology so haphazard?
Technology--electronic of chemical--is an unquenchable wildfire of
ideas, nurtured by nimble minds, feeding on itself the way
oxygen fuels flames.
Like the climber who responds "because it's there" to the question
"why do you climb the mountain?" engineers and chemists and other
scientists explore the mysteries of the human mind and natural world
because it's there. Innovate first; consequences later. Consumers of
the technology generally behave the same way. Consume first; figure
out the consequences later.
It seems to me that athletes should be able to use technology (even
what we consider edgy/scary technology) to their advantage; it will
always advance; it's out of the box and will never be stuffed back
in, and the chance too see a human being performs feats never before
achieved is alluring.
Dark downside The response will be: "Hey, jackass, health and safety issues
abound. You're putting a lot of people at risk."
adult (key filter here) athletes would do so
willingly, understanding and accepting the risks. How is it any
different than generations of football players staggering through
retirement because of field injuries and head trauma? Ask anyone of
them, and he'll tell you he'd do it all over again. If you're
worried about it, alter the health-care system so you sign a waiver
that says no health care for you if you use such-and-such