In the wake of the BALCO steroid scandal many questions have been voiced regarding our beliefs and ideals relative to winning. And in addition the comments of Victor Conte, the head of BALCO have tarnished the reputation of many athletes.
Sydney Gold Medalist Marion Jones continues to refute Conte’s claims and has filed a defamation lawsuit against Conte in which she maintains her innocence.
Conte offered a smug response and continued to assert that Jones did knowingly use steroids.
I don’t want to comment on the question of athletes and steroid use, but I would like to spend a moment on perception. It is one of those things that I find to be fascinating. In my experience the truth is secondary in the public eye. The issue is always about perception. You can be an axe murderer, but if the public perceives you as having done so for noble reasons they will shower you with love.
Public perception is the driving force in the way so many people act. It is really disappointing because it is so powerful it lends itself to making people act in ways that are less than honest. But it can also be used as a tool to promote positive behavior as well.
In a society in which perception outshines truth there are many shades of gray.