ESPN.com's Bob Harig asks, "How is it that Singh is even playing?"
He's referring to admitted doping policy violator Vijay Singh, who is in the field this week at Riviera for the Northern Trust Open as some feel his situation becomes a distraction for the tour each week he plays.
Because his status is under review, Singh is permitted to play, although there is a possibility that any official earnings or world ranking points could be rescinded, depending on the outcome of Finchem's investigation.
This much is clear: If Singh took a banned substance, knowingly or not, he has to be penalized by the tour's own rules. Ignorance is not a defense, nor is the argument that deer spray or IGF-1 is ineffective; it has been on the tour's banned substance list since the drug testing program began in 2008. Players were warned in 2011 about deer-antler spray in literature and emails widely circulated.
Doug Ferguson also submits a commentary suggesting that Singh should take a leave of absense until his situation is resolved.
Under the anti-doping policy, the Tour is required to disclose the name, confirm the violation and declare the penalty.
So far, there has been silence.
This is not a call for the Tour to rush to judgment. Singh's case is muddled. Yes, a player who admits to using a banned substance is the same as a player testing positive. But is there evidence that IGF-1 was in the spray that Singh was using? More than one doctor has said it's impossible for IGF-1 to enter the blood system through a spray. And the Tour does not have a blood test, anyway.
Plus, players have the right to appeal, and the policy says a hearing must take place within 45 days.
Singh brought this mess on himself, and now is the time for him to give back to the game that has provided him with so much. Singh could eliminate this distraction by taking a leave of absence until the Tour sorts this out. The sooner the better.
**James Corrigan in the Telegraph sees it the other way, responding to much of the criticism in Europe, though this discounts the doping violation language which does not require a positive test. An admission of attempting to take a banned substance is enough.
The Tour will also know by now that minute quantities of IGF-1 may be found in milk and beef and many other products it would not think to outlaw. It will have heard the generally held view of the experts that it is impossible to absorb IGF-1 in the body if it is not injected.
Indeed, it may well prove the case that Singh was actually less ignorant than the authorities.
The lynch mob are loudly baying for Singh’s sporting life. They would presumably be satisfied with the potential scenario of a man being banished from his profession for unknowingly doing nothing wrong?
This absurdity is where hysteria has taken sport and the vigilantes’ demand for action is set to become more shrill with the revelations of widespread doping in Australia. The temptation is to declare that here is a simple case of good against evil. But it is not necessarily black and white. The Singh affair shows it can be a mess of grey.