From Wertheim's most recent mailbag:
In your entire professional career, have you never (not even once) looked at [player name redacted] and wondered whether s/he may be juicing? Never?!
—Jim Yrkoski, Silver Creek, Neb.
• This is a point I’ve tried to make many times. There is a vast chasm between “wondering” and openly speculating. And those of us who follow—and are constrained at times by—a professional code can’t throw out allegations absent evidence. At least without violating the most basic professional ethics (to say nothing of leaving our employers open to liability.) All those egg avatars on twitter and anonymous cowards in the troll-inhabited comments section can fire away in a way that actual journalists cannot.
Trust me: the folks in the pressroom and broadcast compound share some of your concerns. We see the rapid recoveries. And hear of dubious TUE (therapeutic use exemptions). And lament the ITF’s modest anti-doping budget. And wonder why, when a disgraced Spanish doctor was implicated in a Tour de France doping scandal, the ITF wouldn’t retroactively test samples of tennis players known to be among the doctor’s patients. But absent anything firmer than suspicion and speculation, few of us are in the business of trafficking in perhaps the most serious accusation you can level at an athlete.