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Why It`s Time to Legalize Steroids in Professional Sports

At the last debate, on January 15, the official proposal was: “We should accept performance-enhancing drugs in competitive sports.” “[W]hen it takes a year-long break [due to the COVID-19 pandemic] to reflect on the Games, it`s worth considering this provocation: perhaps the only thing that could breathe new life into these old Games and make them more relevant is the exact opposite of what amateur sport should be exempt from: technological, chemical and biological performance enhancers. There are other issues in terms of access and equity. Those who have more money and access to EPDs will get an advantage; However, money and access are already and always will be an advantage, steroids aside. How many people would have been interested in the Tour de France without Armstrong`s stunning feats? Before failing a drug test in 2006, Shawne Merriman was named NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year in his role as the highlight of his 2005 season. Who can deny the excitement of the MLB-record home run hunt between Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa in 1998? Alex Rodriguez, recently missed, hit .300 in his career with 647 career home runs, 14-time All-Star, 3-time AL MVP and a World Series champion. Critics will argue that steroids and doping can pose health risks to the athletes involved, but athletes take serious health risks simply by hitting the field or riding a bike. Last year, a media car drove Johnny Hoogerland off the road during the Tour de France and sent him headlong into barbed wire. Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann broke his leg and his career ended midway through the game, and the devastating long-term effects of concussions are quickly becoming apparent. If performance enhancers were legalized, they could be safely distributed and regulated so players wouldn`t have to rely on shady backyard transactions for untested drugs. Dale Murphy, a former Major League Baseball outfielder who founded the iWon`t Cheat Foundation to rid the sport of drugs, said: “We need better testing, tougher penalties and people will choose not to engage in performance-enhancing drugs. The game of baseball is the perfect example. The culture of professional baseball players is the only thing they know, and one thing they learn from the moment they sign a professional contract is that if you play on the game in any way, your career will be over.

“Human sport is different from sports involving other animals such as horse or dog racing. The goal of a horse race is to find the fastest horse. The horses are lined up and whipped. The winner is the one who best combines biology, training and runners. Basically, this is a test of biological potential. This was the old Athenian naturalistic view of sport: to find the strongest, fastest or most capable man. Radley Balko, editor and investigative journalist for Reason magazine, said: “What is this debate really about? I would say it is a question of paternalism and control. We have a real moral panic in our hands here and we are talking about a series of substances that, for whatever reason, have attracted the wrath of people who have taken it upon themselves to tell us what is good for us and what is not.

Our society has a strangely schizophrenic relationship with pharmaceuticals and medical technology. If you can tell something is natural, we tend to agree with it. If it is made in a laboratory or synthetic, we tend to be suspicious. But synthetic drugs and artificial technology also seem to be acceptable when it comes to making sick people better or broken people healthy. The main reason why performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) are banned in professional sports is that they give users an unfair advantage over the rest of the field. Various professional sports leagues have tried to create a level playing field by testing for drug use and suspending those convicted. It`s a noble effort, but it`s clearly not working. The harsh penalties have done little to reduce the number of cyclists caught cheating each year. As Deadspin usefully points out, the heirs to Lance Armstrong`s seven titles on the Tour de France have all been implicated in doping scandals. Major League Baseball also imposes bans each season on players caught with banned substances, and it`s absurd to think that these players are the only ones guilty of juice.