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Performance Enhancing Drugs and Athletes: Argumentative Essay on Legal Use

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Shouldn’t all athletes be able to compete on an even playing field? Most high school, college, and professional athletes participate in sports for the chance to put their abilities against those of their peers and to experience the gratification of competition that comes from playing to high standards. “A nationwide study of 12th-grade male students found that 6.6% had used anabolic steroids at some point in their lives” (Walker). Anabolic steroids are usually synthetic hormones that are derivatives of testosterone, used medically especially to promote tissue growth, and are sometimes thought to be abused by athletes to increase muscle size, their strength, and improve endurance. The primary position why performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) are outlawed in most levels of sports is they give users an unfair advantage over non-users. Various professional sports leagues have tried regulating performance-enhancing drugs by testing for its use and penalizing those who are found guilty. It’s a noble idea but it is clearly not working. Major League Baseball hands out suspensions daily to players found guilty of using outlawed substances and it is insane to believe or think the players who get caught juicing are the only ones guilty. “Steroids, doping, and other illicit performance-enhancing drugs and treatments have become the biggest scourge of professional sports leagues, and that’s why it may be time they were made legal” (Smith). The usage of performance-enhancing drugs in sports needs to be legal. Legalizing performance-enhancers would not only make the playing field even for all players, it would be at a higher level. Part of the fun in watching sports is viewing the peak of human athletic ability and legalizing performance-enhancing drugs would aid players in climbing even higher. My first reason for promoting PEDs to be legal is if they are regulated, they will be safer. Another reason for my demanding anabolic steroids legality is it promotes equality in sports. My last reason why legalizing performance-enhancing drugs is a must is because they make the game much more interesting and entertaining. Let’s be honest here, who doesn’t love watching multiple home runs a game?

Usage of PEDs is rampant in civilization’s history and can date all the way back to the Ancient Greeks. Ancient Olympians trying to gain a competitive edge took such things as hallucinogens, herbal medications, and eating animal hearts in search of more physical potency. During World War II the Nazi’s tested steroids on prisoners of war. Even Hitler himself was injected testosterone daily, in hopes of promoting aggressiveness and physical strength. In 1958 the FDA approved the first anabolic steroid for public sale in the United States. The ‘Godfather of Steroids,’ Dr. John Bosley Zieglar, created an anabolic steroid called Dianabol that received FDA approval when released. Alex Rodriguez received a full-year suspension in 2014 for testing positive for steroids.

Ever since I was a child I loved watching and playing baseball. One of my furthest memories dates back to watching Mark McGwire crushing baseballs, making it look easy. The summer of 1998 was one baseball fans find hard to forget. McGwire and Sammy Sosa captivated baseball as they both chased the record for most home runs in one year (61). McGwire finished with 70 home runs, shattering the record. Once Mark McGwire hit 245 home runs in a total of four years, heads began to turn. As a fan, all you cared about was wondering how far McGwire’s next home run was going to be. In 2010 McGwire came out and admitted to his use of anabolic steroids. He confessed to using them sporadically throughout the 90s. Watching that man get up to bat was one of the most exciting things to witness. It made the sport more entertaining and fun to watch again. Another interesting study done on athletes taking PEDs is that 1 in 10 retired National Football League players professed to using now-banned anabolic steroids while playing. There were 2,552 retired players who answered questions on taking anabolic steroids while playing.

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The usage of performance-enhancing drugs in sports needs to be legal because if PEDs are regulated, they will be safer. One of the many reasons why performance-enhancing drugs are illegal in sports is because it is believed to cause long-term health effects. “While it’s true that these drugs have potential side effects, they may only occur if taken improperly or excessively” (Listland). Most professional athletes who consume these drugs experience side effects because they use them with bare knowledge and minimal guidance from their doctors. If these drugs are regulated athletes will learn how to properly ingest them and not experience many side effects/long-term effects. The Council for Responsible Nutrition claims that PEDs are safe when taken the proper dosage. PEDs have many positive benefits but current bans for using these substances prevent athletes from seeing the many benefits of these drugs. Without these steroids being regulated, athletes will never know how the substances affect the body and how they should be properly taken. “…doping athletes are using much higher doses than the proper amount” (Perez). Most people who take these drugs have no idea that most of the danger from not knowing the proper dosage. Appropriate regulation on PEDs will enable athletes to go out and become educated about the drugs they are taking. If legal, PEDs can be researched more and will eventually make the drugs safer and more effective.

The usage of Performance Enhancing Drugs promotes equality in sports, therefore needs to be legal. In terms of sports, the playing field isn’t level, it never has been. “People do well at sport as a result of the genetic lottery that happened to deal them a winning hand” (Foddy). Some people are born with genetic advantages. For example, Eero Mantyranta, a skier and Olympic Champion won seven medals between 1960-1972 making him one of the best skiers of his time. Scientists later found out that he possessed a genetic mutation. He naturally had more red blood cells than everyone else. At the time he had 65% more red blood cells than the average person. This genetic mutation is passed down throughout Mantyranta’s family. His niece and nephew have also won gold medals in the Olympics due to this genetic mutation. The ability to perform well is based upon the ability of the red blood cells to deliver oxygen to muscles. The more red blood cells one has, the better performance they will put on. There are many ways to improve your red blood cell count such as undergoing surgery, exercising, or eating iron-rich food/vitamins. However, all of these ways can produce low results, so athletes decide to turn to other options. The only other option that exists is to intake PED. But as we know, doing this is illegal. Lawmakers make doping illegal because they feel as if it makes play unfair but does it? Some athletes have a higher than average red blood cell count due to luck. Some people can afford to buy specific training equipment. Is that fair? No that is not fair. Therefore, it is illogical to say that using drugs in sports is unfair. Giving athletes the option to intake PEDs, gives all athletes an equal playing field.

Finally, the most important reason why legalizing performance-enhancing drugs is a must is because they make the game much more interesting and entertaining. “Sure the athletes need training and talent, but if a technology exists that can make you better at what you do, then why wouldn’t you use it” (Tirado)? Alex Rodriguez, Barry Bonds, and Jose Canseco all have admitted to using steroids while playing in the MLB. Let’s be honest, do us fans even care anymore? From the all-around great A-Rod to big hitters like Barry Bonds and Jose Canseco. Watching these guys play was exhilarating. As a fan you’re not questioning what these guys do behind closed doors, all you can think about is how far their next hit going to be. Canseco stated how “it’s impossible to measure how much steroids can help you…” (172). After all, the usage of steroids did not make these guys great ball players, steroids simply amplified the skills they already had. Athletes are allowed to use injections to decrease swelling and to increase recovery time, even if it is in the middle of a game. Allowing athletes to use injections to have a faster recovery time but not allowing them to use a PED to get better does not make sense. If we are not going to allow the use of PEDs in sports than why is an actor allowed to be in movies after undergoing plastic surgery? Why are magazine publishers allowed to use Photoshop? People would call someone crazy for saying something like that, but it is a harsh reality. Plastic surgery and Photoshop are both artificial enhancements to one’s ability to perform. We live in a world where technology is increasing at a rapid pace on the daily. Genetic modification is inevitably on its way to become a norm in our society. So why not allow PEDs to be legal in sports? “…we, the paying customers, don’t want normal-size athletes with normal abilities. We want to see supermen and superwomen performing super feats, and we’re willing to pay these gladiators a fortune” (Robinson). Sports become more entertaining when you watch an athlete perform at the edge of what humans are capable of doing. We watch the sport not to see something average, we watch to witness something extraordinary.

Performance Enhancing Drugs need to be legal in sports. Some may claim this would be an unfair advantage but if made legal, it would not be. If PEDs are regulated, they will be safer. One of the many reasons why performance-enhancing drugs are illegal in sports is because it is believed to cause long-term health effects. Most players who decide to take these drugs have no clue what they are, how to properly ingest them, and what is the correct dosage to take is. Appropriate regulation on PEDs will enable athletes to go out and become educated about the drugs they are taking. If legal, PEDs can be researched more and will make the drugs safer and more effective. The usage of PEDs in sports promotes equality. Some people are born with genetic advantages. Olympic Champion Eero Mantyranta was born with 65% more red blood cells than the average person. Red blood cells transport oxygen to muscles in the body, allowing it easier to perform at a higher level. There are ways to increase red blood cell production in one’s body, however; they are not nearly as effective as PED. As we all know, PEDs are banned throughout sports. Some athletes have a higher than average red blood cell count due to luck. This is not fair but that is part of life. Saying the usage of PEDs makes sports unfair is illogical. My final reason why PEDs need to be legal is because they make the game much more entertaining to watch. Alex Rodriguez, Jose Canseco, and Barry Bonds have all admitted to the usage of PED during their careers. These three players were the most fun to watch, simply because you had no idea what they were going to do next. These guys are clearly incredibly talented; the use of PEDs simply enhanced their abilities. Sports become more entertaining when you watch an athlete perform at the edge of what humans are capable of doing. We watch the sport not to see something average, we watch to witness something extraordinary. Performance Enhancing Drugs need to be legal in sports.

Works Cited

  1. Canseco, Jose. Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant ‘roids, Smash Hits, and How Baseball Got Big. New York: Regan, 2005. 9 May 2016.
  2. Foddy, Bennett. “Why we should allow Performance Enhancing Drugs in sports.” British Journal of Sports Medicine. 2004. 9 May 2016.
  3. Listland. “10 Reasons Performance Enhancing Drugs Should be Legal.” Listland sports. 21 January 2015. 9 May 2016.
  4. Perez, A.J. “Should pro leagues allow PED use?” Fox Sports. 29 August 2012. 9 May. 2016.
  5. Robinson, Eugene. “Fans on the Juice.” The Washington Post. 18 December 2008. 9 May 2016.
  6. Smith, Chris. “Why it’s time to legalize steroids in professional sports.” Forbes. 24. August 2012. 9 May 2016.
  7. Tirado, Raymmar. “Is it Time to say yes to steroids in professional sports?” Huffpost Sports. 5 January 2015. 9 May 2016.
  8. Walker, Jennifer, and Brian Adams. ‘Cutaneous Manifestations Of Anabolic– Androgenic Steroid Use In Athletes.’ International Journal Of Dermatology 48.10 (2009): 1044-1048. Academic Search Premier. Web. 9 May 2016.

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Performance Enhancing Drugs and Athletes: Argumentative Essay on Legal Use. (2022, September 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved November 29, 2022, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/performance-enhancing-drugs-and-athletes-argumentative-essay-on-legal-use/
“Performance Enhancing Drugs and Athletes: Argumentative Essay on Legal Use.” Edubirdie, 27 Sept. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/performance-enhancing-drugs-and-athletes-argumentative-essay-on-legal-use/
Performance Enhancing Drugs and Athletes: Argumentative Essay on Legal Use. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/performance-enhancing-drugs-and-athletes-argumentative-essay-on-legal-use/> [Accessed 29 Nov. 2022].
Performance Enhancing Drugs and Athletes: Argumentative Essay on Legal Use [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Sept 27 [cited 2022 Nov 29]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/performance-enhancing-drugs-and-athletes-argumentative-essay-on-legal-use/
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