Last week, we talked about how “mainstream” sports journalists were leery of delving too far into the Tiger Woods story, lest it make them worried about the precedent it would set for the future of their profession. (Somehow, we just don’t see Bill Plaschke having the stomach to harass someone at the airport about their baby bump.) Since then, it has remained one more Tiger mistress after another … nothing to change their viewpoint or angle. Until today. Today, the story has — AT LAST — landed in their comfort zone, wafted into an atmosphere in which they may comfortably breathe. Yep: The Tiger Woods story is now about performance-enhancing drugs. It’s steroids. Inhale big, folks: You’re in Lupica country now.
That’s right. In a plot turn that, in retrospect, seems inevitable, a doctor connected to Tiger is suspected of providing PEDs to his athlete clients. The Times broke the story last night.
The F.B.I. investigation of Dr. Anthony Galea, a sports medicine specialist who has treated hundreds of professional athletes across many sports, follows his arrest on Oct. 15 in Toronto by the Canadian police. Human growth hormone and Actovegin, a drug extracted from calf’s blood, were found in his medical bag at the United States-Canada border in late September. Using, selling or importing Actovegin is illegal in the United States.
Dr. Galea is also being investigated by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for smuggling, advertising and selling unapproved drugs as well as criminal conspiracy. He is tentatively scheduled to appear in a Canadian courtroom on Friday.
Tiger famously had a difficult time recovering from knee surgery in 2008, which was when he was supposedly referred to Galea. Tiger’s massive muscles — especially for a golfer — have been whispered about for a few years, but no one really thought too much of it, because, jeez, it’s golf.
But this could be a steroid scandal now. You thought Us Weekly was bad, Tiger? Wait until Mitch Albom, convinced you’ve stolen the innocence and joy of his unspoiled sporting childhood, sinks his teeth into you. The Times e-mailed the story to one of Tiger’s agents for comment. His response: “I would really ask that you guys don’t write this? If Tiger is NOT implicated, and won’t be, let’s please give the kid a break.” That’s the sound of a man who knows what’s coming. That’s the sound of a man who knows all control has long been lost.