What Should Professional Sports Organizations Do about Players Who Use Steroids?

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), October 18, 2009 | Go to article overview

What Should Professional Sports Organizations Do about Players Who Use Steroids?


Byline: Dr. Norman Fost, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

All adults try to enhance their performance in a multitude of ways. We use cars and com-

puters to make our work more efficient. We use caffeine, alcohol and Viagra to improve our performance. We send our children to schools and Suzuki lessons to improve their cognitive and performance skills. We inject them with vaccines to enhance their immune systems.

Athletes have used performance-enhancing drugs and devices since the beginning of recorded history. Babylonians and Romans used herbs to improve their performance in battle. Naked Greeks put on shoes to run faster. Kenyan runners trained at altitude, and runners everywhere have carbo-loaded to improve their endurance.

None of these activities has been considered immoral or illegal. Why, then, are we re-enacting the Salem Witch Trials with steroids as the witch's brew? Why are our greatest athletes being threatened with imprisonment for this universal quest to succeed and excel, whether by using drugs, devices or other means?

To be sure, we have rules, and those who break the rules must suffer the penalties. But this begs the question of why we have this rule, particularly about an activity that is so distinctly human. The answers to this question seem to me morally incoherent, hypocritical or based on ice-cold wrong information. Let's look at five of the most common reasons for banning one of the myriad of performance-enhancing technologies - anabolic steroids.

First, critics say they confer an unfair advantage. But advantages are only unfair if they are unequally distributed. The usual solution is to equalize access. When Bob Seagren showed up at the 1972 Munich Olympics with a fiberglass vaulting pole, the response was to delay its use until others had a chance to practice with it but not to prohibit it.

The unfair advantage argument is further undermined by the rampant hypocrisy. In the 1988 Seoul Olympics, where Ben Johnson lost his gold medal and world record because of steroid use, Janet Evans, the American swimmer, bragged about the special swimsuit that we had kept secret from the East Germans. Johnson used a drug that was available to everyone, virtually on the training room tables. Evans used secret technology, available to none of her competitors and bragged about it. The press cheered American ingenuity and made Johnson a pariah.

Bud Selig, the Major League Baseball commissioner, preaches about a level playing field, but he presides over a league in which the New York Yankees payroll is two to three times that of most of their competitors, including my beloved Milwaukee Brewers, and have failed to make the playoffs only once in 15 years.

Second, critics say that steroids are harmful, but they rely on information that is exaggerated or simply fabricated. We are told repeatedly that steroids cause heart disease, cancer and stroke. Oral testosterone was associated with liver cancer, but for decades the steroids of choice have been injectable versions of different molecules, which have not been associated with liver or any other cancer. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

What Should Professional Sports Organizations Do about Players Who Use Steroids?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.