Why are athletes not being tested more frequently in professional sports? As to many people, professional athletes serve as role models, idols, and heroes to them. However, the use of performance enhancing drugs taken by professional athletes have led to doubt on wondering if they’re truly the best or not. A 2017 quote by Tom Murray, says that “The first hard truth about elite sports is that it’s relentless competitiveness, and the tiny margins that separate winners from also-rans, press athletes not to surrender anything that gives them an edge”. The argument for the positive reasons for use of PEDs is obvious in Dione Koller’s, article that stated, “research has suggested that these meds help injured athletes to better heal” (Murray). What both Murray and Koller are noting in their articles are valid points of view. However, the key difference between their views is that Murray is saying that PEDs are being used artificially to be better than their elite competition while Koller is just stating that PEDs have some positive use during recovery. These drugs, such as steroids, should not be used without proper regulation because taking steroids to help an athlete perform better while completely healthy has unknown long-term effects.
The usage of PEDs or steroids is already banned from almost all professional sports such as baseball and cycling, yet athletes continue to use these drugs to enhance their natural capabilities. The story of Lance Armstrong has Tom Murray stating that “Some critics say this problem isn't athletes who break the rules but the rules themselves specifically, the prohibition on doping. Lance Armstrong's supporters are running out of plausible defenses” (Newsweek). Because of athletes like Lance Armstrong, not only are fans retreating from loving the sport of cycling, but people are beginning to doubt all athletes clean or not whether they are a fraud or a true elite athlete. For instance, in today’s Major League Baseball (MLB), if an up and coming baseball player like Ronald Acuna were to hit over 60 homeruns in a season, the average fan may wonder if Acuna is on steroids. Referring to Baseball’s Almanac, the average number of home runs for a home run leader in MLB over the past 5 years (2013-2018) is 39 home runs in a season. Compare that to a 5-year span during MLB’s steroids era (1998-2002) in which the average home run leader achieved 61 homers in a typical season.
In addition to fans questioning if an athlete is cheating or not with PEDs, another key reason why there should be more regulation on PEDs is because athletes won’t confess to taking PEDs on their own. If leagues and our national government do not do something to stress the importance of clean athletes then cheating athletes will simply think that it is appropriate to take drugs such as steroids, stimulants, and painkillers. Clearly, those athletes that cheat will not stop themselves unless something impactful gets in their way. Some would argue that the only way to significantly reduce the usage of PEDs is to bring professional sports leagues and the government together to develop a meaningfully way to regulate it. For example, what if a professional baseball player gets caught taking PEDs? He is suspended or banned from league. If the government got involved and enforced regulation, this player not only would be banned from the league, but he would also have to serve time in jail. This added consequence would likely make athletes to think twice before using PEDs.
The intake of PEDs has built up a huge controversial issue between athletes and investigators. Yet there is one specific group of people that make professional sports the way they are today. Fans are one reason why the issue of intake of PEDs is under so much controversy. Money also plays a major role in the intake of PEDs. For instance, a basketball player that has a good season with stats upward of averaging a triple double might get a new contract for millions. The other side is that if he gets hurt, he gets cut from the team and is out of the league. So, money could be a serious possibility for athletes taking PEDs.
All the debate about whether athletes should be allowed to take PEDs should concern the authorities that have power and authority to make a difference and make a final decision. USADA (United States Anti-Doping Agency) was created in 2000 as a private, nonprofit corporation with the strong support of Congress. Its mission is to investigate, test and sanction athletes in accordance with the World Anti-Doping Code, which must be followed by every sports federation, as well as every nation that wishes to participate in the Olympic movement. Taking PEDs also has a major affect long term in a sense of the highest vindication of all. The Hall of Fame. “Imagine if USADA had authority over professional and college sports. If it did, there would not have been a cloud of suspicion over this year's baseball Hall of Fame class. Instead, we would have long ago had real answers and likely a far more productive debate about the players' place, or not, in the Hall because, as we eventually did with Mr. Armstrong, we likely would have heard from the players themselves” (Koller). I agree with that because if they were into stopping the steroid usage, everyone would have to come out and confess.
Athletes have every right to use and take any steroids and PEDs, but that doesn’t make it right. By the looks of things, it is very uncertain that we will see a change in the number of athletes coming forth and speaking on taking steroids. And for those who are taking steroids and are randomly drug tested and get caught, USADA and whoever the league officials of the sports have to come together and solve that issue.
- Koller, Dione. “All U.S. Sports Need an Anti-Doping Agency.” Baltimoresun.com, 24 Jan. 2013, www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/bs-ed-doping-armstrong-20130120-story.html.
- Murray, Tom. “TOM MURRAY: Why Sports Need Rules against Doping.” The Register Citizen, The Register Citizen, 28 Aug. 2017, www.registercitizen.com/news/article/TOM-MURRAY-Why-sports-need-rules-against-doping-12064322.php.
- Newsweek. “An Easy Way to Improve the Olympics: Make Performance Enhancements Legal.” ACM, 21 Feb. 2014, cacm.acm.org/opinion/articles/172420-an-easy-way-to-improve-the-olympics-make-performance-enhancements-legal/fulltext?mobile=true%3Fmobile.