By the time Al-Jazeera America’s The Dark Side: Secrets of the Sports Dopersfinally aired last night, it felt like an afterthought. That’s partly because The Huffington Post’s Saturday report on the documentary’s claims—most notably, that Peyton Manning has been an illicit consumer of human growth hormone—sufficed to fuel all the reaction the culture can muster for PEDs-in-sports stories at this point. Mostly, though, it felt like an afterthought because it was one. Here at the end of 2015, PED-abuse allegations in the NFL scandalize precisely no one.
The domestic dog walks in a circle before it lays down to sleep; this behavior is an artifact of a time when dogs primarily lived outdoors, and walking in a circle was a way to flatten undergrowth and make a softer sleeping place. Humans do this sort of thing, too, though they’re rarely as cute about it. The most illuminating aspect of this weekend’s Manning story was watching sports fans walk sleepily in their own little circles, treading down an outraged or moralizing or hypocritical reaction that existed solely in the collective memory of the species.
A representative but by no means complete sampling: