Last updated on: 1/7/2009 | Author:

Tom Farrey Biography

Executive Director of the Aspen Institute Sports & Society Program
Not Clearly Pro or Con to the question "Should Performance-Enhancing Drugs Be Accepted in Sports?"

“[I]t’s likely that within a few years, expanded use of these drugs will become permissible, under a doctor’s supervision and with checks in place to prevent abuse.

Sure, it’s hard to imagine now that the league would ever offer a seat at the sports medicine roundtable to the Beavis and Butt-Head of jock dope. Didn’t Congress just get done using the NFL’s well-regarded drug policy to club Bud Selig and Don Fehr into submission? And the public has been deeply conditioned to think of these drugs in sinister terms, at least when it comes to sports: Any athlete using them is a cheater. Meanwhile, short-statured kids are prescribed HGH injections, AIDS patients get testosterone to combat their wasting away, and baby boomers take related compounds to stay young. A simplistic, good-and-evil judgment of these substances won’t continue to hold…

Let’s suppose for a moment that the NFL wants to adapt its drug policy to the realities of 21st century medicine. Could it make the changes without turning the game into more of a chemical freak show than it may already be? Of course -- as long as it is willing to make the health needs of its players, as opposed to the dubious ideal of a level playing field, its No. 1 priority. Envision a transparent system in which players with confirmed, legally recognized medical conditions get advance consent to use therapeutic doses of hormones, with controls that ensure real doctors are making real diagnoses.”

“The Case for HGH,” ESPN The Magazine, Jan. 29, 2007

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Executive Director of the Aspen Institute Sports & Society Program
  • Senior Writer, ESPN The Magazine, 2005-present
  • Television Correspondent, ESPN, 1999-present
  • Senior Writer,, 1998-present
  • One of seven journalists voted as among the “100 Most Influential Sports Educators in America,” by the Institute for International Sport at the University of Rhode Island, 2007
  • Recipient, Investigative Journalism Honors Award, Sigma Delta Chi / Society of Professional Journalists, 2004
  • Recipient, New Media Asian American Issues Award, Asian American Journalists Association, 2003
  • Recipient, two Emmy awards for Outstanding Sports Journalism, 2002 and 2003
  • Recipient, three best writing awards from the US Basketball Writers Association, 2002
  • Deputy Editor,, 1996-1998
  • Sports and enterprise reporter, Seattle Times, 1988-1996
  • Recipient, national investigative reporting award, Associated Press Sports Editors, 1992
  • Recipient, Annual Sports Journalism Award, Women’s Sports Foundation, 1988
  • BA, Journalism, University of Florida, 1986
  • Alternate email address:
  • Has had reports published in: Business Week, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Seattle Times, St. Petersburg Times, and Miami Herald