(the subject of many scurrilous rumors. On the right, Shane Helms)

The Hurricane, the late Eddie Guerrero, Edge, diminutive high flyer Rey Mysterio Jr. and acknowledged train wreck Randy Orton are the latest WWE superduperstars to be named and shamed by Sports Illustrated. And if you’re wondering why Vinnie Mac Jr. didn’t learn his lesson the last time the shit went down (particularly as he’s now the head of a publicly traded company), it’s worth pondering the following a) how much talent would he lose to TNA if a strict drug policy was enforced across the board and b) is there nearly as much outrage over Shawne Merriman’s training methods, and if not, why not?

Of the latter, Chuck Klosterman writes,

The public will respond by renewing its subscription to NFL Sunday Ticket, where it will regularly watch dozens of 272-pound men accelerate at speeds that would have made them Olympic sprinters during the 1960s. This, it seems, is the contemporary relationship most people have with drugs and pro football: unconditional distrust of anyone who tests positive, balanced by an unconscious willingness to overlook all the physical impossibilities they see. This is partially understandable; socially, sports serve an escapist purpose. Football players are real people, but they exist in a constructed nonreality. Within the context of any given game, nobody cares how a certain linebacker got so big while remaining so fast. Part of what makes football successful is its detachment from day-to-day life. For 60 minutes, it subsists in a vacuum. But this detachment is going to become more complicated in the coming years, mostly because reality is evolving, becoming harder to block out. And the Evolved Reality is this: It’s starting to feel like a significant segment of the NFL is on drugs.

I’d submit it’s starting to feel like the NFL is testing for drugs. I suspect there’s been a significant segment on something-or-other for an awfully long time, though beyond the human exploitation element (ie. the life expectancy for these guys wasn’t so hot before we thought they were juiced up), Klosterman poses the not entirely ludicrous question, why are artistic endeavors held to a different standard to those of professional athletes?

No one views “Rubber Soul” and “Revolver” as “less authentic” albums, despite the fact that they would not (and probably could not) have been made by people who weren’t on drugs.

Jack Kerouac wrote “On the Road” on a Benzedrine binge, yet nobody thinks this makes his novel less significant.

Nobody looks back at Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” and says, “I guess that music is okay, but it doesn’t really count. Those guys were probably high in the studio.”

Jonathan Richman and Ray Cappo were unavailable for comment.