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Deford Doping Pumps Up Commentary?

RENEE MONTAGNE, Host:

And athletes continue to test positive for illegal drugs but, as we know, it's always a horrible mistake. Tour de France winner Floyd Landis has, for example, already provided five different reasons to account for his positive test: dehydration, cortisone shots, drinking beer with Jack Daniels chasers, thyroid medicine, and his naturally, unnatural metabolism.

Now, commentator Frank Deford asks you to consider his own situation. And, please, don't be dubious.

FRANK DEFORD: Perhaps you have heard the rumors that when I was tested after last week's commentary, performance-enhancing drugs were somehow found in my system.

I am completely mystified how this could be. I have never, knowingly taken steroids in my life because I would never defile my throat. If I'm going to do commentaries on National Public Radio, I would never stoop to do them dirty for this wonderful institution.

I'm sure there must be a simple explanation for this positive test. It could be that the suntan lotion that a strange woman rubbed on me at the beach contained a steroid. I'm also very suspicious of some maple syrup that was put on my pancakes last week, served by a very sinister waitress. It's also true, that after I wrote my commentary I celebrated by enjoying a marijuana smoke - in moderation, of course, you understand - but you can't ever be too careful.

Isn't it possible that, unbeknownst to me, some rotten dealer snuck steroids into my weed? Certainly charges that my producer at NPR suggested that I take steroids to improve my commentaries are utterly baseless. Yes, yes, of course she's given me amphetamines in the past to get me up for a big commentary, but she's always drawn the line at steroids.

I'm especially offended at those accusations that my whole profession is dirty, that it simply isn't possible to live up to the demanding standards of network radio without resorting to steroids. Oh, yeah, yeah, I've heard those nasty remarks from know-nothing outsiders who say that, Who are Daniel Schorr and Baxter Black, former large animal veterinarian, kidding? All you guys must be knee-deep in steroids in order to keep up with younger commentators.

If you ask me, it's the fault of the laboratory that surely must have botched the test. As you know, this is always the situation with athletes and now with commentators. Laboratories have never once gotten it right. They always have false positives or false negatives - whatever.

Were all those jealous French out to get me? Or is this just a case of unscrupulous reporters trying to sell newspapers? Or it's this whole cynical society, the little people, envious of the fame and fortune that we commentators enjoy.

Thank God my longtime hometown fans have not been taken in by these erroneous test results, which surely can be explained if everybody will just keep an open mind. Because this is America, and even though my vocal cords are now five times their normal size, we should not jump to conclusions.

In closing, I understand that it will soon be leaked that I was found to have six different kinds of blood in my system. Oh, okay, there was this syringe in my bathroom, but I am completely baffled that anyone would jump to these spurious conclusions. I have never knowingly, ever blood-doped in my life.

Thank you America, for your trust in me.

MONTAGNE: And you can hear all of Frank Deford's commentaries at npr.org.

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Frank Deford died on Sunday, May 28, at his home in Florida. Remembrances of Frank's life and work can be found in All Things Considered, Morning Edition, and on NPR.org.
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