The New Yorker‘s Malcolm Gladwell can’t resist a smart counterintuitive position, and he’s taken a good one on his blog,, where he wonders what the big deal is with human growth hormone. He writes:

“Slow to recover from knee and hamstring injuries, [Fernando] Vina played only 61 games for the Cardinals in 2003. He said he was under pressure from the team and himself to get back on the field, so he tried HGH. . . . ‘Was it right? No. Obviously, it was wrong,” Vina said. ‘I’m embarrassed by it.'”

Gladwell wonders why Vina is embarrassed. There’s “reasonable evidence” that HGH speeds recovery, Gladwell reasons. “So what, exactly, is wrong with an athlete–someone who makes a living with their body–taking medication to speed their recovery from injury?” Having written similarly (here and here) about another Cardinal, Rick Ankiel, who admitted to taking HGH, I find Gladwell’s argument attractive; but a lively discussion follows his posting and his readers certainly don’t all agree with him.