Legalize Steroids in Sports
Ben Johnson was one of the first superstar athletes to be caught using steroids and was stripped of his 100m gold medal at the 1988 Olympics. He was eventually banned for life in 1993 for testing positive again (Richardson 2010). Performance enhancing drugs have become widely used since the 1970’s and have only increased in the numbers of athletes using the drugs to up their endurance and perform to their greatest potential. Professionals such as Barry Bonds, Jose Canseco, and Hulk Hogan have all been humiliated and are now seen as cheaters after being caught using steroids.
It is too late to stop these sports fuelled on drugs because of the large number of athletes using, so why not consider drug use as a way to level the playing field? The only way to stop the “cheating” in sports is to open up the gates and drop all performance-enhancing drug laws throughout the sports. We should stop all the hypocrisy and allow pro athletes to take whatever performance drugs they please. In 1995 Bob Goldman, a Chicago physician, asked 198 Olympic U. S. athletes whether they would take a banned substance if they were guaranteed to win; 195 of those athletes said yes (Richardson 2011).
Professionals know the risks of steroids, but if you offered an athlete a drug that would guarantee him glory and riches, but knock ten years off his life, most would take it (Madden 2011). The health risks caused by steroids have been broadly exaggerated. The athletes using these drugs want to become bigger, leaner, and faster. For example, a male athlete injecting testosterone into their body will gain better adaptations to training and better performance. This is because testosterone enhances muscle power and promotes recovery from tough workouts.
The testosterone has a high anabolic effect, strengthening muscle cells, and repairing and toughening bones. Steroids allow the athletes to maximize their performance on field, which is their main objective in the sport. Allowing the use of steroids would make sports safer as there would be less pressure on athletes to take unsafe enhancers and more pressure to develop new safe steroids for the athletes to use. People who believe the health risks are the reason these drugs should be banned need to look at Major League Baseball’s tolerance of chewing tobacco during games, and to the NFL’s glorification of hard tackles (Nathaniel 2010).
For example, chewing tobacco is allowed and it can cause mouth cancer. The tackles in the NFL can cause major concussions and lead to long-term brain injuries. These are all detrimental to the health of the athletes. If steroids were taken under the care of a team physician, then it would allow for the regulation of dosage and the team physician can keep track of the overall health of the athlete, which will maximize their physical performance. Athletes are always trying to improve and be the best they can be. Steroids can take a regular athlete and turn them into an elite athlete.
Most research studies that have demonstrated improved performance with steroids used experienced weight lifters who were capable of training with heavier weight, and when exposed to steroids increased their strength incredibly (Fahey 1998). Improved strength is just another factor in being an improved athlete, they still need the skill to hit that home run or throw a football. Almost all athletes that used steroids feel that they would not have been as successful without steroids (Fahey 1998). If professional sports allowed their athletes to use enhancers there would be certain effects that would occur right away.
First, there would be more studies on the benefits and risks of these different drugs because the sports associations will want the safest and best steroids for the athletes. Second, the athlete’s physicians would prescribe the drugs and the effects on the athletes would be watched very closely. And third, the drug manufacturing would be taken out which means the black market on these steroids would die out (Nathaniel 2010). The legalization of the steroids would start a movement in the sports leagues where new records will be broken just as they were made to be.
It is time for the government to legalize steroids. Because so many athletes are using, legalizing is the only way to get a level playing field like the sports associations want. Every athlete would have the option legally to use steroids. Morally and physically, each athlete would have that certain choice to make also. The situation would be out in the open though and drugs can finally be regulated in sports. Performance enhancers in sports have been used illegally throughout the history of sports; it’s time for pro sports to legalize steroids and similar substances.