Russian Deputy Prime Minister Blames Failed Doping Tests On… Sex?

It's not remotely true, but Men's Rights Activists might agree with him

Sports minister Vitaly Mutko was re-elected today for a four-year term as president of Russia's Football Union (RFU) at a special executive board meeting in Moscow. / AFP / Alexander FEDOROV (Photo credit should read ALEXANDER FEDOROV/AFP/Getty Images) — AFP/Getty Images
Jan 20, 2017 at 5:18 PM ET

In the days that have followed the release of the McLaren Report, the World Anti-Doping Agency’s two-part and long overdue investigation into Russia’s state-sponsored doping program, Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko has remained steadfast in his belief that Russian athletes are the real victims here.

“Russian sports are among the cleanest in the world,” he said on January 11, adding that the McLaren report represented a “deliberate attack on Russian sport aimed at its defamation”

On Thursday, he offered an alternate explanation as to why some of the over 1,000 Russian athletes from 30 different sports were pinged for all manner of doping violations and jerry-rigged testing samples: They had sex.

“If you have sex five days before taking a doping test, they can find male DNA in you,” Mutko said in an interview at Sports-Express, a Russian sports news site. “If a female athlete undergoes a drug test within five days after the act, then the test will show that she has male hormones — and yet it evokes suspicions of her using different drugs.”

In case this needs clarifying, this is bunk. Sexual intercourse will not alter or in any way impact the results of a doping test. In the McLaren report, the urine samples of two female hockey players who competed at Sochi did contain male DNA. But their results were so off the charts, it’s clear the samples had to have been tampered with. When Arne Ljungqvist, a medical researcher and the current chairman of the International Olympic Committee’s Medical Commission, was asked by the Swedish tabloid, Expressen, if Mutko’s theory had any merit, he laughed. “I really think not,” he said.

But Mutko wasn’t done engaging in misinformation and misdirection. He also brought up to two athletes who were suspended after testing positive for trace amounts of cocaine, French tennis player Richard Gasquet and Canadian pole vaulter, Shawn Barber. Both of their suspensions were ultimately overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport and the Sport Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada, respectively, after it was determined that the illegal substance entered their system through… well… kissing women who had used the drug.

In Mutko’s mind, there’s some kind of parallel between cocaine, which can remain present in one’s blood, urine, and saliva for multiple weeks, and sexual intercourse in general, which, again, does not transmit genetic material that would in any way show up on a doping test.

“One [athlete] can kiss a girl who has taken a drug. A foreign [athlete] is reinstated based on this while a Russian is punished,” he said, as though this proves that WADA and the IOC were guilty of a systemic, anti-Russian bias.

So where might Mutko have come up with the ridiculous notion that sexual activity could alter a doping test result? A quick bit of Googling and you’ll find quite a few blogs and Reddit threads cranked out by Men’s Rights Activists-slash-Pick Up Artists warning against the perils of women who befoul their DNA via sexual intercourse.

In brief, because no one deserves to have their devices polluted by the words of these misogynistic dolts, they’ve glommed on to recent scientific studies showing a genetic impact from previous sexual partners on the offspring of fruit flies. Though there’s no scientific proof that this is occurring in human beings, they argue that the children borne by a woman will be altered in some way by every sexual partner she’s had, meaning there is supposedly some way in which human males genetically impact each woman they have sex with.

Given Thursday’s (ludicrous) suggestion of a link between sex, doping tests, and DNA, it’s worth asking the question: Has Russian deputy prime minister Vitaly Mutko been mucking about in some of the more wrongheaded and retrograde corners of the internet?