SARCEV SIDESWIPED BY ESPN.COM

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Milos Sarcev is itching to get back onto a bodybuilding stage to duke it out with fellow iron pumpers, and he’s more than ready to do battle (verbally) with a certain keyboard puncher.

In an ESPN.com article titled “Bodybuilders, Vegas and Victor Conte . . . oh my!” published October 4, 2006, reporter Mike Fish chronicles his walk through the 2006 Olympia Expo. Keeping with the status quo of mainstream sports writers who cover bodybuilding, he adopts a haughty and morally righteous tone as he describes the expo attendees and their motives.

“It’s late now,” he writes, “and the friends bound by steroids and a desire to turn a buck amble out of a convention hall that for this weekend is a shrine to the lucrative supplement industry.”

Fish devotes a portion of the article to a conversation he had with Sarcev, in which the former and future competitor asserts that steroids are not worthy of the kind of demonization government officials seem to think they warrant.

“The government is feeding the media wrong information, that anabolic steroids are destructive drugs,” Sarcev told Fish. “Anabolic is a word; it means ‘constructive.’ Not ‘destructive.’”

Sarcev doesn’t contend he was misquoted in the piece, but he does bristle over Fish’s labeling of him as a “self-described steroid expert” and is disappointed Fish didn’t make good on his word to let him see the story before sending it for publication. “I had him sign a piece of paper that said he would show it to me for my approval,” Sarcev says. “But I never saw the story until it came out [online].”

Fish follows Sarcev’s statements with a prejudiced caveat that immediately reveals the reporter’s bias: “Many in the medical community, of course, take issue with Sarcev’s characterization of the benevolence of steroids. . . ” he writes. Although it may be sound journalism to state that some in the medical community may question the safety of steroid use by healthy individuals, adding the phrase “of course” turns the piece into an editorial — one man’s pointed views on a multifaceted subject. It is just another example of the hit-and-run approach of the mainstream media as they take yet another slanted swipe at the sport.

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