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It is completely unnecessary that athletes risk their lives to gain an edge in sports and the reputation of all sports could possibly hang in the balance. Steroids, stimulants, and hormones have been proven to advance the physical body and increase athletic ability. Yet, athletes destroy their physical and mental personas to gain the minimal effects of these harmful and dangerous drugs illegally. Some of the most memorable moments in sports history are being tainted by the fabricated abilities of artificial players. A time in which legends are made in the face of adversity by their hand alone, without the crooked effects of synthetic substances must be returned to. Precautions and boundaries must be set in order to establish and maintain the purity of all sports leagues and athletes which will ultimately make the game more pleasant to watch and participate in. The economy of multiple world economies are at extreme risk if the reputation of sports causes an avalanche of viewers to turn away from this pastime, so the honor and morality of sports must be protected and upheld by all members of the party.
The steroid debate has become one of the most controversial issues in the world of sports today. Athletes in all kinds of sports are becoming bigger, faster, and stronger, ultimately making the inhuman feats that occur in sports one of the most popular types of entertainment in society. With evolving technology, it has been proven that athletes can become even more jaw droppingly impressive with the help of drugs to enhance their performance. However, the risks and consequences that come with these drugs heavily outweigh the possible gains from allowing athletes to use them and create a skewed playing field for participants. Sports are meant to be a pure pastime for people to enjoy, performance enhancing drugs would taint this reputation and ultimately cause the downfall of sports competitions and perhaps more across the globe.
Sports have been around since before the time of Jesus, when the Greeks and Romans would compete in various challenges of strength and endurance. Beginning in the late 1800s, the best of the best athletes from across the entire globe battled it out to break the limits of the human body. The official olympic website describes the evolution of specifically the olympic games and weightlifting when it describes “Today, weightlifters compete in snatch and clean and jerk” rather than its primitive origins of simply lifting a heavy object with one or two hands. Demonstrating the monumental evolution of one of the most fundamental competitions in the history of the world, weightlifting especially provides an introduction and connection to the discovery of performance enhancing drugs, and their unnatural consequences. This is unnecessary however since the human race continues to evolve on its own without the dangers and death caused by PEDs.
Take the game of football for example. The game has gained more and more popularity on the American television and a lot of it is due to the fact that bigger, stronger, and faster athletes are more fun to watch. One of the most prevalent ways to visualize this evolution is through the offensive and defensive lines. For example, “In the early 1980s, Washington line coach Joe Bugel told Joe Jacoby, a 6 foot 7 inch, 275-pound offensive tackle at the University of Louisville, that he had a chance to make it in the NFL — but only if he got bigger”. So with hard work, determination, and honesty, Jacoby bulked up and became one of the biggest most dominant players of his era. This is what the people want to see, incredible feats of the human body and precisely that. Synthetic gains and illegal methods taint the game and the athletes themselves causing distrust and lack of respect from the fanbases. Performance Enhancing drugs will corrupt the game and lead to a decline in popularity, which could be detrimental to athletes, society, and the heavily dependent economy.
One of the most popular and debated substances used by athletes for a leg up in the competition is anabolic steroids. Used to increase muscle mass and strength by reducing the time of recovery allowing an athlete to work out harder and more frequently, anabolic steroids have alarming negative side effects that cannot be ignored. According to the mayo clinic, these illegal drugs can lead to high blood pressure, psychiatric disorders, infections, diseases, and addiction which is made exponentially worse when “Many athletes take anabolic steroids at doses that are much higher than those prescribed for medical reasons”. Clearly, these athletes are risking their lives for a minimal edge in a game that many children play simply for enjoyment. To be the best of the best surely comes with its high praise and perks, but at what cost? PEDs simply should not be legal in sports competitions. The risks are too great. Especially since “The long-term effects of performance-enhancing drugs haven’t been rigorously studied, and short-term benefits are tempered by many risks”. Do fans really need athletes to risk their own health to provide entertainment to those less gifted who appreciate talent and effort without the added endangerment to the athlete’s lives? If anything, at the least the drugs should be tested for years and made safer before being legalized by sports organizations.
Another reason these detrimental Performance Enhancing drugs should not be legalized is the fact that it will not fix the issue by creating popularity and leveling the playing field in sports. How would people react when they find out their favorite player on the hometown team that broke the homerun record was using PEDs? Haley Tackaberry from the Gazette explains, “it makes the athletes seem fake and only powered by an unnatural substance that should not be found in one’s body” . It reduces the respect that fans have for players that didn’t accomplish their feat legally, safely, or honestly. Even worse, legalizing doping would create a vicious cycle. Athletes will continue to look for a leg up in the competition and will take more and more of the drugs, or even find newer and more dangerous narcotics that could lead as well to “many of the players who do not wish to suffer from the long-term effects [to] feel coerced into using illegal substances themselves”. Part of the reason profession athletes got to the level they are at is due to a significantly greater competitive edge than many other players. Their tireless focus and work ethic sets them apart from the rest and could lead to dangerous actions to maintain their status. The incorporation of performance enhancing drugs takes away one of the fundamental aspects of sports. These illegal substances take away from the fun and enjoyment of the game and turn it strictly into a winning and losing situation. PEDs devalue the playing of the game and in turn shows the fans the selfish and conceited aspects of an enhanced player’s personality. PED drugs should be eradicated from sports to ensure a healthy, level, and respectable environment within any sporting competition.
For a moment look at the possible outcomes of using performance enhancing drugs. PEDs could lead to multi-million dollar contracts, fame that is unmatched on any platform, and perhaps maybe a longer and more effective career. Yet these outcomes can only come true if the steroids or stimulants don’t cause the athletes health to deteriorate too badly and if the athlete doesn’t get caught. In an article by from Northwestern University, the author quote Jose Conseco, a known user of PEDs saying “I don’t recommend steroids for everyone…but for certain individuals, I truly believe, because I’ve experimented with it for so many years, that it can make an average athlete a super athlete. It can make a super athlete incredible”. Certain PEDs have been proven to work and it is understandable why some lacking, weak minded athletes would turn to unnatural and illegal substances to boost their performance, however, this is a risk that will likely ruin their health as well as their career. Another aspect of the drug debate are substances such as marijuana and adderall. Adderall, a drug prescribed to ADHD patience to entill focus and calm, has become a hot topic and quite the fad in the NFL. Since it is an allowed substance with the right prescription and proven to increase hand-eye coordination, it is a sought after tool for many NFL players. Marjuana on the other hand, is sought after by players for its pain relief to help the hours of intense trauma these athletes endure everyday. In the same article WR Antonio Cromartie is quoted saying “[marijuana] is the least harmful and least addictive of the painkillers used to cope with the violent demands of the game”. Yet, obvious in the word choice, this drug is still harmful and addictive to athletes in any sport. For these reasons sports leagues and associations should not only continue to keep PEDs illegal, but implement even stricter testing and punishment aspects for drug use.
One huge problem with the drug system in the MLB is the lack of consistency from player to player. Every viewer and fan of the major league knows steroids, marijuana, and human growth hormone are bad and illegal, but what about a drug like adderall? Bleacher Report, an extremely popular source for news sports today writes “Major League Baseball players take Adderall with an MLB therapeutic-use exemption every day, while others have been suspended for taking the exact same pills, just without a prescription from a doctor”. Adderall had been said to improve hand-eye coordination yet it is a common prescription for players with ADD or ADHD. With this type of unfair advantage, it seems the solution that makes the most sense is to make it available to all players, because this drug specifically has little to no effect on a players health. One possible argument that could be made explicitly for the sport of baseball in favor of legalizing drugs is another method to try and level the baseball throughout history. Levy from Bleacher Report suggests “If baseball wants the home run record to have sanctity, it should do what golf has done and make the course longer. Move back the fences to 450 or 500 feet. That will protect the old home run record far more than dinging a few players for PEDs ever could”. He goes on to argue that this would make a bigger outfield which could lead to more runs and even a more interesting game to watch which is a solid claim. However, this does not take into account the physical and mental health of the players and the true desire of the fans for a clean and respectable game that is America’s pastime. There are a few exceptions, but the slippery slope of legalizing drugs cannot be tolerated.
There is more at stake however than simply a player’s health. Yes it is extremely important to prevent further risks and detriments to a players psych, but the entire realm of sports could lay in the grips of illegal performance enhancing drugs. The University of Harvard published, “the mechanism of doping entails all the ingredients to distort fair competition and trust in a game, and consequently corrupts the entire sports system”. The popular saying “ a few bad apples can ruin the whole bunch” is extremely prevalent here. All it takes is a few ugly drug charges for players to ruin the reputation of their entire sports league, and maybe eventually other sports leagues. This causes the players’ reputations to again be tainted by the reputation of the league they belong to and the cycle repeats itself afflicting the league and the sport even more. This is why the corruption and appeasement must end here. Along with the reputational harm doping causes, it also brings great concern in perspective of the economy. The Harvard authors state, “professional sports attract not only a lot of interest, but also huge amounts of money, and thus corruption in sports can create tremendous societal and economic burdens”. Hanging in the balance in more than players reputation and health, and greater than the status of some sports leagues, the entire world economy depends on the wealth and prevalence of sports. It will take a team effort and a constant, tenacious drive to thwart the decimating leech that performance enhancing drugs have on the wonderful sports in the world of today.
Many viewers are indecisive on whether a clean game or synthetically advanced athletes would be more satisfying to watch, however, there is much more at stake than the interest of sports fans. Performance enhancing drugs concern athletes’ health, sports associations’ reputations, and perhaps the majority of countries’ economies. This is why sports must maintain the status of illegal substances and undoubtedly increase consequences for players who use prohibited narcotics or plan on using them. In order to ensure that the pleasure and history of sports is protected for all ages, places, and backgrounds, the integrity and respect for the game from all players, coaches and associations must remain intact now, and for the many years to come.
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