If we asked you to name the pro wrestlers you thought used or considered using performance-enhancing drugs, how long would it take you say, “Jonathan Coachman?”
With an Al Jazeera report naming superstar NFL quarterback Peyton Manning in connection to a possible doping ring, the debate on human growth hormone and its role in pro sports (and recovery) rages. ESPN and former WWE personality Jonathan Coachman has been on both sides of the debate — as media and as a performer, and as an athlete, kind of — and spoke to ESPN Radio’s Russillo and Kanell about his experience with the drug. Coachman understands the why of HGH, and says he almost used it himself during his time in WWE.
From the discussion:
“A lot of my buddies to recover would take HGH to get back to earn a living, because their living was based on performance. For us, it wasn’t hard at all. You go to clinics, a lot of those clinics have been shut down because it’s illegal now. I had no problem.”
“I had all my stuff in a FedEx and was going to send it to a doctor where all my buddies went. At the last minute I was like, ‘I’m a wrestler, yes, but I’m not doing this as much or the length of time I need to do this for.’ I knew my future was probably [at ESPN] and didn’t want to see my name tied to a clinic like that.”
While you probably think of Coach’s time in WWE in terms of him getting thrown out for liking Barry Manilow and sexually assaulting cows, he’s got an impressive wrestling resume, as well. He has multiple wins over Jerry “The King” Lawler and Tajiri, a victory over Rhyno, he’s been in two Royal Rumbles and he’s stepped into the ring against everyone from Ric Flair and Shawn Michaels to John Cena and Randy Orton. He’s wrestled Chris Benoit and Mick Foley. Crazy, right?
There were also less prestigious moments:
So, what do you think? About HGH, not about Coachman as Khali. Is taking a drug that helps you recover and do your job a performance enhancer, or just a means to an end? If you’re an athlete or a performer, and there are millions of dollars and a pro sports franchise’s success or failure riding on you — not saying that was ever on Coach’s plate, but you know what I mean — is it cheating to get well faster? What if it’s a common thing? Where do you draw the line?