Steroids in Sports In many places around the world today, sports competitions are increasing in popularity due to the quest to win, to be the best. Many athletes will do anything to win, whether that means breaking the rules or cheating. The desire to win is imbedded into all humans, especially when professional athletes of today’s age are becoming icons and are viewed as figures of greatness by their rare abilities to perform at such a high level. The quest for money and fame is also a common reason for athletes to cheat or bend the rules.
Steroid use is the most common form of cheating in all sports today. Other than the fact that they are harmful to your body, they are taking away from sports and sending the wrong messages to aspiring athletes. The issue that is currently being addressed in the sports industry is that if so many people are already using steroids, such as bodybuilders and athletes, then why not make them legal and let people use them at their own risk? Or rather should we just keep them illegal due to their harmful health risks and promotion of unfair advantages in sports?
Before getting into the ethical concerns about the legalization of steroids, let’s talk about what steroids are and how they work. A steroid is a synthetic substance similar to the male sex hormone testosterone. The most common use of steroids is having them injected into skeletal muscles or they are taken in powder and pill form. There are so many types of steroids and each of them has its own value. Many types of steroids are used for medical conditions and health problems. These types of steroids are prescribed by doctors. Any type of steroid that is not prescribed by a doctor is illegal.
Steroids that are taken by athletes and other abusers take them in cycles of weeks and months. This is called cycling. Cycling involves taking several doses of steroids over a definite period of time, stopping for a period, and then starting again. Along with this method, steroid users often use the “stacking” method during their cycles (NIDA 1). This is when users will combine several different types of steroids to get maximal results while minimizing negative effects. There are many effects from the use of steroids, some positive and some negative.
Though there are more negative effects then there are positive ones, many of the positive effects of steroids include treatment for medical conditions. Anabolic steroids can be legally prescribed to treat conditions like delayed puberty as well as diseases that result in loss of lean muscle mass, such as cancer and AIDS (NIDA 1). Short term effects of steroids are the ability to train harder and longer and an increase in lean muscle mass and strength. Minor negative side-effects include excessive hair growth, oily skin, acne, and a deepening voice.
These are just minor short term side-effects though. The effects of steroid use that are the main concerns of users are increased risk of cancer, heart attack and liver disease. Also, increased blood pressure, increased risk of atherosclerosis, and obstructive sleep apnea may occur (NIDA 2). For men, shrinkage of the testicles, baldness, and risk of prostate cancer are things to be aware of. For women, common side-effects are facial hair, male-pattern baldness, and a deepening voice. Lastly, adolescence taking steroids may stunt their growth and accelerate puberty changes.
The use of steroids in baseball has been revealed, and was put out in the open. Steroids have been utilized in baseball for decades, but just lately have arrived into the lime light. In the summer of 2003, the USADA obtains a secret fluid, brought in anonymously. This fluid, ‘the clear’, turns out to be Tetrahydrogestrinone. It’s an untraceable steroid utilized by some of the world’s top athletes. Later it is disclosed that Trevor Graham, a sprint adviser to some of the elite sprinters, submitted the steroid and the baseball steroid era began.
The steroid was traced back to Victor Conte at BALCO labs, and it is finally discovered out that Patrick Arnold was the pharmacist who evolved the steroid. Barry Bonds’ name is cited as one of BALCO’s large-scale clients. In fall of 2004, steroid checking starts under the MLB’s new collective bargaining agreement. Barry Bonds undergoes random checking, and proceeds on to win his 7th organization MVP. Over the next couple of years, some athletes are connected to BALCO and anabolic steroids. Many athletes came ahead and accepted their steroid usage while some still asserted innocence.
In 2007, previous Senator George Mitchell issues a 409 piece report, after a 21 month enquiry considering steroids in baseball. The report titles 89 people engaged in baseball who have are suspect of utilizing steroids. Again, some athletes eventually accept to utilizing steroids, while there are still numerous, which have been suspect, deny utilizing anabolic steroids. In the years after 2007, more proof is discovered opposing many MLB players and some apologies are made. Anabolic steroids are still utilized in baseball today, and ball players still undergo drug tests.
Professional sports needs the most gifted athletes in the world, and people will manage anything they can to get the intended for display, even if it is endangering their career. Tetrahydrogestrinone, opened the eyes of newspapers and followers around the world to not only steroid use in baseball, but steroid use in all sports. Not a day goes by without hearing about a steroid associated case, or an athlete failing the drug test. Fans and parents anticipate professional athletes to be models. Because of baseball’s steroid scandal, steroids are better liked than ever, in both adults, and teens.
Several associations, and retired athletes, for example Jose Canseco, are now conversing to juvenile teens about steroid edge consequences, steroid misuse, and hazards of anabolic steroids. Major League Baseball had an established steroid rule which was made in 2002. Under this rule, a first time violation would only result in therapy for the player. Not one contestant was ever suspended. After the BALCO scandal, Major League Baseball eventually determined to buckle down and topic harsher punishments for steroid users.
The new principle, which was acknowledged by Major League Baseball players, was handed out at the start of the 2005. It stated that the first positive test will result in a suspension of up to ten days. The second positive test will result in a suspension of thirty days. The third positive test will result in a suspension of sixty days. The fourth positive test will result in a suspension of one full year. Finally, the fifth positive test will outcome in a punishment at the discretion of the Commissioner of Major League Baseball.
Players will be checked not less than one time per year, with a possibility that some players can be checked many times per year. Bud Selig, the Commissioner of Major League Baseball, successfully made the living principle and has suggested even harder punishments for positive tests than the ones in place today. The new punishments that Bud Selig has suggested are a “three strikes and you’re out approach”. This is that the first positive test would result in a fifty game suspension. The second positive test would result in a one-hundred game suspension.
Finally, the third positive test would result in a lifetime suspension from Major League Baseball. These new suggested punishments are much harsher than either of the first two, although, they should be acknowledged by both the players before any changes can be made. Under the present rule, the first Major League ballplayers have been suspended for checking positive. The Mitchell Report, or Report to the Commissioner of Baseball of an Independent Investigation into the Illegal Use of Steroids and Other Performance Enhancing Substances by Players in Major League Baseball, is the outcome of previous United States Senator George J.
Mitchell’s enquiry into the use of anabolic steroids and human development hormone in Major League Baseball. The 409-page Mitchell Report, issued on December 13, 2007, shows the use of illegal game enhancing substances by players and the effectiveness of the MLB pharmaceutical checking program. It’s still present that Senator Mitchell’s recommendations considering the management of past illegal drug use and future avoidance practices. The Mitchell Report names eighty-nine Major League Baseball players who are supposed to have used steroids or drugs.
George Mitchell, a previous United States Senator and prosecutor, was nominated by Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig on March 30, 2006 to enquire the use of performance-enhancing drugs in MLB. Mitchell was nominated throughout a time of argument over the journal Game of Shadows, which chronicles thought complete use of performance-enhancing drugs, around some distinct kinds of steroids and development hormone by Barry Bonds. Bud Selig determined to start the method of ending the illegal use of steroids and performance enhancing drugs after reading Game of Shadows.
The term was made after some influential people of the US Congress made opposing remarks about the effectiveness and honesty of MLB anti-performance enhancing drug policies. In recent news in sports today, many players are being caught using illegal substances of performance enhancing drugs. For example, San Francisco Giants outfielder, Melky Cabrera, was caught using illegal performance enhancing drugs late in the 2012 season. He was sentenced to the 50 game suspension and this also takes a toll on his popularity which was increasing due to his MVP caliber stats. His suspension is the most significant in-season ban by MLB since Manny Ramirez received his first 50-game suspension in 2009” (Lacques 1). Though the Giants won the World Series without Melky Cabrera, they most likely will not offer him a contract extension in the 2013 season, in which he will be a free agent. Steroids may also cause inner turmoil within players. They may become disliked by other teammates because they are harming themselves and cheating. It is not fair to those who don’t take steroids and work out hard to make themselves become a better player.
For example, Dustin Pedroia, 5’ 6” second baseman for the Red Sox, won MVP of the league in 2008 without any steroid use. On the other hand, Alex Rodriguez, Yankees third baseman, who has won multiple MVP’s recently admitted to three years of steroid use. As far as the fans know, steroids could have helped him during his years of greatness. That leaves many people to believe he is a great player, but did not put in the hard work like Dustin, who earned the respect of millions with his work ethic and determination.
I believe that the use of steroids or any performance enhancing drugs should remain illegal in sports. The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) division on anti-doping believes that “doping jeopardizes the moral and ethical basis of sport and the health of those involved in it” (Ashby 1). I agree with UNESCO because steroids will cause an unfair advantage for many people in sports. Sports will no longer be about who has the most talents or puts the most work into becoming better but more about who has the better steroids to make them better.
The National Football League created its own policy on steroids and performance enhancing drugs because they believe it threatens the integrity of athletic competition (Ashby 1). Many people are beginning to believe that legalizing steroids will benefit sports because it will create a higher, faster level of play. It is also argued that since many athletes are being caught using them anyways that they should just be made legal to stop with the suspensions and taking away of titles earned by players while using steroids.
For example, the US Anti-Doping Agency stripped cyclist Lance Armstrong of his seven Tour de France titles and banned him from the sport for life for doping. There are some who believe it is wrong to take his titles away but in my belief I think that it is only right for his titles to be stripped. Well, maybe not all seven of them, but the ones in which he was using steroids during. There are many psychological and physical side effects to your body from continued steroid use. Psychologically, a player may go from a state of well-being to a state of depression.
Players tend to have outbursts known as “roid rage”, which is a feeling insecurity when they are playing bad even though they are on this drug. Mood swings and intense aggression and violence have also been known to occur. Some players feel that steroid use will benefit their career by making them a better player. This is not true. Most are looking for a quick way to increase their speed, endurance, muscle mass and physical size. They want to have a stronger physique which gives them confidence as well as strength to perform better on the baseball field. Some also tend to get addicted to the steroid habit.
Some players who have been injured, mildly or dramatically, require this drug to recover from the injury, but then cannot live without it. Jason Giambi, former Yankee first baseman, was overweight, slow, and a poor hitter at the beginning of his career. In order to maintain his position on the team, he chose to take steroids after workouts to alter his body. This had an immediate effect, but after he was caught, he went from being a well-rounded player, back to slumps in his game and having to work hard like everyone else. There is also the business standpoint that leaves many people to think that steroids should be legal.
Former baseball players Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa put on two of the most memorable baseball seasons in 1998 and 1999. Fans became invested in the home run races, especially in 1998 when McGwire shattered Roger Maris’ 37-year-old single season home run record. More jerseys were sold that offseason than in any other. This view is that steroids will cause many players to break records and there will be an increase in fans. My view is that the players who take steroids and break records are breaking the records of those who actually worked hard and stayed clean while achieving them.
This, to me, is a good way to describe the unfairness due to the fact that sports won’t be about achieving greatness and success through hard work, determination, and great talent, but by having some talent and taking lots of steroids. Based upon research and studies of the dramatic effects steroid use, I believe that steroid should remain illegal unless used for medicinal purposes. Reasons being the negative and long lasting effects it can have on one’s body, along with the negative effect that they will cause in the change of the integrity and fairness of sports.
Numerous anti-doping policies have been created to stop the use of steroids in sports today and I feel that with a strong push towards a clean and fair game, these organizations might be able to nearly eliminate steroids from many sports. Major athletes may enjoy the results but are clueless to extent of the damage it will cause them in the future. Lastly, there is no reason for people to harm their bodies for short term results and according to April Ashby, “Steroids have no place in sports” (Ashby 1).