He scrutinises the effect of drugs, cheating and commercialisation in the sporting industry, briefly mentioning that it is a "reflection of the broader societal forces impinging on sporting subcultures", and that is most certainly what it is. Has the situation however reached the point where professional sport should be called something else so as to prevent the "contamination of amateur sport"?
When it comes to the use of illegal substances, there is a no tolerance policy, and a very good reason for it. The use of illegal methods place athletes at an unfair advantage over their opponents, so it makes sense that they should be incapable of holding any medal or trophy in such a situation.
Who is to blame? Who should be held responsible? It should be rather clear that even if the athlete is unaware of being under the influence of drugs, if they are in some way gaining an unfair advantage, they should still be removed from the event so as not to unfairly diminish the opponents' chance of winning. Other legal measures should then be taken within the club to reprimand those who mislead the athletes and hold them responsible for their actions.
So while drugs and cheating have made a significant impact in news headlines over the years and have marred the image of sport, it isn't a matter that should be generalised to the entire sporting community. Consider the incident where the Essendon Football Club's sport scientists were responsible for the team's use of substances in the AFL.
This reflected very poorly on the sports science industry and gave it a bad name, when in fact sports science plays a big role in helping athletes achieve their optimal performance. Point is, the majority of athletes, doctors, sports scientists and coaches refrain from using illegal measures, and at the end of the day it is watching those athletes performing and reaching new heights that makes professional sport so great.
Sport has become commercialised
When looked at from one angle, as Donovan does, sport has most certainly become a lot more commercialised. As Donovan states: "sporting events are saturated with alcohol and gambling advertising". However is would be rather extreme to claim that "sport has lost its moral compass" because of this it. Surely the fact that sport is valued by society as entertainment is not inherently a bad thing?
Well, great entertainment requires some commercial savvy, leading to sponsorships, and with sponsorships comes advertising rights. Despite having to be careful about what they are advertising, it comes down to what sponsorships they can gain to have the support to keep the entertainment business going.
Stepping back from sport and looking at society as a whole, the effect of advertisements in the sporting industry alone cannot be blamed for the evils associated with gambling and alcohol? The average person can be exposed to up to 3,000 advertisements in a single day.
The world is very sinful, containing a lot of corruption, so to look at sport in isolation of the rest of the world and say that it shouldn't be considered professional sport any longer is quite a severe claim to make. One may as well say mankind should be called something else because of how destructive some of us have become.
To close out this response to Donovan's arguments, the fact that governments have added financial incentives for their athletes to succeed is also not a departure from professionalism per se. Athletes already do all they can to be the best. If they are going to cross the line and resort to using illegal substances, they would end up doing it regardless of what extra incentives are added.
As sinful beings, we crave the fame, fortune and pride that comes with being first and above the rest. This should be considered the root cause for why athletes and higher powers resort to using illegal measures as a means of winning and selfishly disregarding the values of sport.
Annemarie de Villiers is studying sports science and has a dream to be a sports scientist for a professional club. Born in South Africa, raised in New Zealand and tertiary professionally qualified in Melbourne Australia.
Annmarie de Villers previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/annemarie-de-villiers.html