Performance enhancing drugs [PED] used in professional athletics has been misunderstood by the general public, plain and simple. There are three main factors that need to be addressed in the PED debate.
Commissioners need to be put on blast.
Many of the PED users in professional sports were caught by witnesses, not drug tests. They were able to find loopholes.
Take Mark McGwire, for example. This home run hitter has been under scrutiny for using anabolic steroids back when he eclipsed 70 home runs in 1998. It has been confirmed that he was using an anabolic steroid called Androstenedione while he made his run. However, the substance was legal in the MLB at the time.
Everybody points the finger at McGwire, but we need to start pointing the finger at MLB’s commissioner, Bud Selig. Andro was legal for MLB players to use, but it had been illegal for Olympic athletes to use. How can Selig be stupid enough to let a substance that is banned at the Olympic level be legally used in the MLB?
Now Andro is illegal in the MLB, but everything McGwire did was considered ethical and legal at the time.
The next commissioner that should be slapped in the face is Roger Goodell of the NFL. There is no testing program for Human Growth Hormone in the NFL as of right now. Goodell has apparently put together some sort of program for next year, but I don’t understand why the NFL has waited until 2013 to start a HGH testing program.
Last but not least, we all know by now Lance Armstrong dabbled with PEDs and lied about it.
However, the guy never failed a drug test. If professional cycling had a test, they would have never had to strip Armstrong of his medals: He never would’ve received them in the first place. I understand he lied about taking banned substances, but he would have got away with it if he wasn’t ratted out by his teammates.
Mainstream journalism is responsible for the public’s attitude towards PED use.
Mainstream journalists have made PED users in sports look like criminals. The general public now spits in the face of PED users in athletics, which is senseless in my opinion.
Barry Bonds, the greatest home run hitter ever to live, wasn’t voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers Association of America last month. Roger Clemens, one of the greatest pitchers in the last 25 years, wasn’t inducted either.
Both ball players have been convincingly accused of using PEDs during their baseball careers. This is a prime example of how media is ruining the viewpoint of baseball.
The common man would tell me “they took steroids, and they don’t deserve it.” I’m not the common man. During the steroid era, it was claimed that a great many baseball players were on the juice. Bonds and Clemens were competing against many pitchers and hitters that were users, and they were still elite.
The common man would argue that Bonds and Clemens are very unethical, with many issues in the court of law due to the rumors of each player taking PEDs, but I disagree.
MLB players didn’t play against African Americans and Latin Americans basically until the 1950s.
If the Baseball Writers Association of America isn’t going to let steroid users into the Hall, every Hall of Famer who played before the 1950s should be stripped of their induction. I’m pretty sure not playing the game against two different races of people, who are now huge influences in the game of baseball, is a little more of an advantage than sticking a syringe in your backside once a week.
Mainstream journalists also have the attitude that taking PEDs will make subpar athletes elite.
Nobody just wakes up, injects HGH into their system and is the next Matt Kemp. That’s not how it works. If that were the case, every professional body builder could be a MLB or NFL player.
Athletes need to be forgiven.
There needs to be forgiveness for athletes in this situation. Professional athletes are extremely competitive and are always looking for a way to separate themselves from the competition.
People need to realize that sport is an occupation for these athletes. It’s what puts food on the dinner table every night for their family.
If taking a PED may be the difference in the athlete making a living or not, it’s possible they’re going to do it.
Professional baseball player Jason Giambi, who has admitted to taking steroids, is a prime example. Giambi once said that if he didn’t make it in baseball, he would probably be working at a gas station.
My point is that before you decide to call an athlete a pig for taking PEDs, look at the big scheme of things and all the variables that go into it. There’s another side to every story.
Published Feb. 13, 2013