Bunnies, rainbows and steroids

Posted by Iannucci | 6/02/2009 | 3 comments »
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Today's lesson is "Never underestimate the amount of misdirected outrage that can be mustered from someone who feels offended by something you say".

Case in point: Danica Patrick. Danica was on the Dan Patrick show doing a typical jovial interview when an exchange about performance enhancing drugs occurred. The problem is that Dan asked her if she would use performance enhancing drugs and she said "Yeah, I think it would be like finding a gray area..."

So of course now there is OUTRAGE from U.S. Anti-Doping Agency CEO Travis Tygart, who had himself a knee-jerk reaction by believing Danica was telling the youth of America to call up Victor Conte, grab their needle kits, and start juicing away. I'm not going to print Mr Tygart's comments because he's totally missed the point.

Here is a transcript from the interview with the comments in question.

Dan: If I said you could take a performance enhancing drug to win Indy - hypothetically - and not get caught...

Danica: Well then it's not cheating, is it?

Dan: Would you do it? Only you would know?

Danica: Then it's not cheating, is it? If nobody finds out, and if I wouldn't be caught, right? Isn't that the baseball controversy, that back in the day they were like "You'll never get tested for this, but it will help".

Dan: Did you answer my question?

Danica: I don't know, what do you think? I think I answered your question.

Dan: OK, so you would do it, know you wouldn't get caught therefore, because it's not cheating. Only you would have to deal with your conscience.

Danica: Yeah, I think it would be like finding a gray area, right? I think in motorsports we work in the gray areas a lot. You know, we're trying to find where the little holes are in the rule book.

Dan: But is it cheating? You're looking for gray area there. At what point do you think it's just cheating or gamesmanship?

Danica: With performance enhancing?

Dan: Yeah, with your answer.

Danica: Well, I would love for them to give me some more horsepower, but it's not as easy as that. I ask for it all the time.
Now, I'm not going to presume to know with absolute certainty what she was thinking, but in reading/listening to the whole thing it seems to me Danica was of the mind that was a ridiculous question. IndyCar drivers are indeed athletes and as such their performance could conceivably be aided by something to help their endurance, but since Darren Manning is about the only driver we've heard about being too fatigued to drive. So if everyone is already physically fit, what's the actual enhancement here?

I got the impression she didn't take the question too seriously because in the full context it appears that when questioned about performance enhancers Danica's initial response is to mock it's use in baseball and the fact that as the years go by more and more people in that sport "get caught". That's an indictment of another sport, not a testament to her own personal beliefs. Moreover, it seemed to fit the jokey nature of Dan Patrick interviews.

Then when the question of using performance enhancing drugs is put to her bluntly by Dan, Danica responds by saying she'd love to get a little extra horsepower. Get it? It's a joke, although I'm sure if you could have a drug that would give a driver an few more HP you'd find exactly EVERY driver popping that hypothetical pill. But the fact is there is no such drug, and to take such umbrage to answers about something that doesn't exist seems misguided.

Note that later when Dan asked about conducting any contract negotiations before the the allowed date of June 1st Danica firmly stated "I'm by the book". Reactionaries, please take her otherwise adherence to the rules into account before you light her in flames.

Poor taste, perhaps. A misguided attempt at off-the-cuff humor? Likely. But seriously, just because Danica jokes about being "enhanced" in a GoDaddy ad doesn't mean she's actually busting out the Barry Bonds Flaxseed Oil. It was just a joke, people, and the failed attempt to convey the humor is, to quote Dan Patrick in the clip below, "an honest mistake."

Check out what IRL-O-Rama and pressdog have to say on this as well.


  1. pressdog // June 02, 2009 4:56 PM  

    Agreed. Danica was dumb to even go there, so don't let her off the hook for horrid, brand-endangering judgment, but I don't have much doubt she was just playing along with Dan. If you go back even earlier in the interview, Dan brings the whole topic up by saying "if I said if you could take a performance-enhancing drug and win Indy, hypothetically, and not get caught ..." So, ask yourself, if someone said "take this illegal drug; you will (for sure) get $10 million dollars (a rough civilian equivalent to winning the 500), and people will sing your praises for generations, and nobody will ever know but you" would you do it? Most people would have to take a minute at least before answering.

  2. vitorfan // June 02, 2009 4:58 PM  

    Well, we all know how "personable" and "funny" Danica is....

    But seriously, if anyone really thinks she's usuing PEDs to gain an edge in autoracing, that's ridiculous.

    Not to say it's unfathomable, but come now...

  3. Oilpressure // June 03, 2009 5:55 AM  

    It sounds like we're in agreement. It probably was not the smartest exchange Danica has ever had but Ithink that Mr. Tygart and all of the others are crying just a little too much over this. It's good there's a race this weekend.