Watch the news any given day and there’s a good chance the issue of steroids in sports will make an appearance in some way. Be it a new baseball scandal, a wrestler or fighter, high school athletes or a host of other scenarios, steroids in sports has become one of the main “sexy” news stories of the modern age.
In 2007 WWE superstar Chris Benoit murdered his wife and son and then took his own life; steroids were blamed for this horrendous act and years later it is still talked about in connection with many stories revolving around steroids in sports. Lyle Alzado is another and perhaps the poster boy for the anti-steroids in sports argument. Alzado’s early death has largely attributed to the war on steroids, even though his own doctors stated numerous times steroids played no role in his death. Funny how we’re told he died because of his steroid use and funny how the fact that Benoit was also found to be full of Xanax and Hydrocodone but more often than not steroids are blamed; this goes to show that the war on steroids in sports is far more important to some than the truth.
Perhaps one of the more confusing aspects regarding media coverage of steroids in sports is by the manner in which it is reported. Watch any report and you’ll begin to think this “problem” is relatively new and only recently beginning to become a serious “problem.” Is that accurate; have steroids only made their way into competitive sports in recent years? Far from it; steroids in sports have existed heavily ever since the end of World War Two. Yes, the use is higher than it was mid-twentieth century but they were there and in a major way. We can even trace “performance enhancing use” back to the early Olympic Games; all the way back the beginning in Greece when athletes were ingesting animal testicles to aid in performance. How much did this testicle barbeque help? Hard to say but they were on the right track being as testicles are where testosterone is found. The point being, steroids in sports are anything but new.
So it’s not new; fine, then why are we told otherwise or rather, why is it we are led to believe steroids in sports has only now recently become a real issue? Money is usually the name of the game when it comes to tracing the origins of any legislation and there has been speculation for years regarding this one as well. In most sports organizations the ruling regarding steroids in sports is twofold, it’s cheating and dangerous with strong emphasis being placed on “danger.” However, no one, no doctor, no medical study, no medical journal, nothing has ever been able to adamantly prove this danger exist for healthy adult males. The only hard evidence we have regarding steroids in sports is they work and work well.
Let’s be reasonable and clear; if any sport, let’s use football, if football wants to make a rule that says wearing cleats is against the rules that’s fine, they can do that, they can set their own rules. Professional football does not need the federal government setting rules for them, especially if they could be damaging to the game. Take professional baseball, do you think it’s coincidental that they were the last major sport in the U.S. to issue a ruling making steroids illegal to use in the MLB? Why would they want to create and enforce a law that would damage the game? Only under severe government pressure did the MLB finally cave.
In the end and one day it will be made clear, money is at stake, it always is. Many have speculated that steroids in sports are illegal in order to keep steroids illegal for every individual. If you can make the case that all should be prohibited from using them, not simply out of fairness but safety, then the ruling is easier to uphold. However, many studies have shown that healthy adult males who use exogenous hormones responsibly are in-fact healthier overall than their fellow man and by in large use fewer medications than those who do not use exogenous hormones. Could that be all it is? Could it be a massive cover up by pharmaceutical companies desperate to ensure a protection of their pockets in the short run? Could be and right now it’s impossible to tell but it is one of the plausible reasons steroids in sports are still frowned upon and you can bet every dime you’ve got it has nothing to do with safety.