IndyCar racer Danica Patrick insists she was joking when she said using performance-enhancing drugs would only be cheating if she got caught.
Not so funny, says the leader of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.
USADA CEO Travis Tygart said Patrick's comments, printed in yesterday's edition of Sports Illustrated, were "totally irresponsible."
"In one interview, she undercut what millions of parents try their best to teach their kids everyday in this country, that winners never cheat and cheaters never win," Tygart said.
In an interview with Dan Patrick, Danica Patrick was asked, if she could take a performance-enhancing drug and not get caught, would she do it if it allowed her to win the Indianapolis 500.
"Well, then it's not cheating, is it? If nobody finds out?" she said.
Dan Patrick responded: "So you would do it?"
Danica's answer: "Yeah, it would be like finding a gray area. In motorsports, we work in the gray areas a lot. You're trying to find where the holes are in the rule book."
Danica Patrick later said her answers were a joke and she apologized if they came across differently.
"It was a bad joke," she said in an interview published on the USA Today Web site. "There is a lot of sensitivity in our culture about [performance-enhancing drugs]. With all the baseball stuff, I've followed it and this is a real problem. It's a shame kids think they have to do this to get ahead. It's very dangerous."
Patrick finished third at Indy last month. Her contract with Andretti Green Racing expires after this year and there's speculation about her possibly moving to NASCAR or Formula One. *