Steroids in Sports: One Opinion

So now Congress has introduced a bill to outlaw steroids and performance-enhancing drugs in all American sports. Is this the right thing to do? I don’t think so.

I have said MULTIPLE times that I don’t feel that using performance-enhancing drugs is necessarily cheating. In certain capacities, it may be. But as they are used in the mainstream sports, they are not “cheating” in the strictest sense of the word. That is, of course, because it doesn’t create an unequal playing field when the overwhelming majority of athletes (at least in baseball and football) are using. But people using steroids are doing something that is, at present, against the rules and, without the prescription of a licensed physician, against the law. There is a difference between breaking the rules and cheating. Most of the time, both are problematic.

Generally speaking, I believe in following laws and rules for the good of society, and to set solid examples for future generations of civilization. This thinking goes back to social contract theory. As for the anarchist or nihilist perspective, it’s hard to reconcile that human beings are capable intellectually or trustworthy enough to have the flexibility to interpret laws any way they see fit, as some have indicated. This is sad but true, and it’s the reason that the “kill yourself all you want” argument doesn’t sit well with me.

Still, we always reserve the right to work together to make changes to laws or rules that do not benefit the common good. After all, at one time human slavery was legal. So that is the true argument here. Are steroids good or bad for the user, and hence the game? Furthermore, if they were made legal, how would they be regulated, overseen, administered, etc.? Surely no one would advocate just a blanket legalization effort that lets anyone and everyone do any performance-enhancing supplement unchecked. Particularly considering the potential advances and improvements that will be seen and made in nutritional science and medicine in the (not too distant) future. Any sci-fi fan can tell you that with the advancement of human scholarship/research/technology comes an enormous amount of responsibility to tread carefully. The theory of relativity rings a bell.

If you ask me, the jury is still out. I may not be as knowledgeable on the issue as some (at least about the physiological effects of the juice), but I am no fool when it comes to drug use in general. I can see with my own mediocre vision that steroids definitely have drastic, overt effects on users, and anything that alters the body chemically and unnaturally (I say unnatural since no one could attain the same effects without steroids) in such an expeditious manner could be potentially dangerous in several ways. And no one, not even staunch steroid supporters, doubts some of the milder side effects. I also know that steroids do have addictive qualities, because I have seen firsthand the enjoyment users get out of them.

Finally, there is a classical debate about purity and corruption of the body. Not that I necessarily share the view, but what are we saying to the person who doesn’t believe in doing any kind of drug? We are basically pushing them out of contention to be an athlete at the highest levels. We are institutionalizing chemical alteration of those who compete in sports. We are also setting a small but infinitely important precedent that manipulation of the factors controlling the sport is simply okay, especially if the improved performance translates to greater fan interest, and hence, more money. I mean, in a few years, will bionic arms be legal?

Oh, and btw, we all know that most athletes on the “stuff” are more interested in recovery than performance. But, any idiot that argues that steroids don’t improve a baseball player’s ability to hit has never played the game. I might not ever be able to hit like Bonds, but I could ensure that if I did, the ball would travel farther. Since most MLB players can already hit the ball in the first place, it’s not improving their contact hitting that they are looking to do. How far the ball travels, where it travels and how the defense fields what’s hit in play is infinitely modified by strength heightening drugs.

I totally understand that the mainstream has some very false preconceptions on this issue. Maybe I do, too. That’s fine. But I am only campaigning for a closer look at the issues so that an honest analysis can be made.

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