AT RANDOM: The final spray, er, straw

Latest drug-related story has reporter Roger Knox wondering whether to continue watching professional sports...

The last ounce in my waning interest in professional sports may have finally come.

Vijay Singh withdraws from Phoenix Open after admitting he used deer-antler spray – National Post headline.

Vijay Singh, one of the cleanest-cut, nattily-clad golfers in the history of the game, former best golfer in the world, told Sports Illustrated that he paid some group called Sports With Alternatives to Steroids $9,000 for the spray and other products.

He then said he was “absolutely shocked” that deer-antler spray may contain a banned substance.

I want to believe him. I used to admire Singh for his golfing ability. Singh used to hone in on a flagstick the way a darts player flicks the dart at a triple-20.

I know Singh has had some health issues. So I’m thinking maybe he took some stuff to help him recover.

And I would like to think that Singh had the common sense to read EVERYTHING that went into deer-antler spray before using the product. Maybe he did not.

And now, instead of answering questions about his golf game, he’s coming clean about this product. At least, according to the article, Singh had the decency to contact the PGA Tour and let them know that he had used a banned substance, unlike, say, cyclist Lance Armstrong (more on that in a moment).

Up until this week, I had never heard of deer-antler spray. And Singh wasn’t the first pro athlete asked about it.

Ray Lewis, Baltimore Ravens linebacker in New Orleans for Sunday’s Super Bowl, was connected to the spray as he recovered this season from a torn triceps injury. Naturally, this came up as Lewis prepares for the big game and Lewis denied the claim.

Lewis is appearing in his second, and final, Super Bowl as he plans to retire. He won it with the Ravens in 2000, a year after he was allegedly involved with the murder of two men in Atlanta.

Also this week came word from Miami that a number of Major League Baseball players, including New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez, were allegedly linked to Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs).

This is what I’m getting at.

It’s becoming harder and harder for me to give a darn about pro sports when stuff like this dominates the headlines.

Baseball has had steroid scandals for decades. Recently, the talk centred about how alleged steroid users Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa (seven Cy Young Awards, 762 and 608 career home runs, respectively), and admitted steroid user  Mark McGwire hardly got a sniff of the votes in the Hall of Fame balloting.

Lance Armstrong, as you know, went on Oprah Winfrey’s show to confess what everybody suspected and what he denied for years: that he used drugs to win his seven Tour de France titles. And, boy, didn’t Armstrong – who bullied and sued those who dared challenge and accuse him – look sorry for what he had done?

The Armstrong saga plus Vijay Singh, plus deer-antler spray, plus Ray Lewis, plus baseball, plus the ridiculous NHL lockout plus this ongoing story about U.S. college football player Manti Te’o of Notre Dame having an online relationship with a fake girlfriend  that turned out to be a hoax permeated by a so-called male friend who told Dr. Phil – Dr. Phil of all people!! – that he was in love with Te’o, plus the B.C. Lions trading Geroy Simon to the Saskatchewan Roughriders, it’s too much.

I have a hard time watching any of it without wondering: are these guys clean? And I think the same thought enters a lot of people’s minds when a record is broken or shattered.

It just makes me fully appreciate the Vernon Vipers or my son’s peewee house hockey and school basketball games that much more.