Steroids should not be in sports

Jake Lebahn

Performance-enhancing drugs are a part of sports today like the hot dog at a baseball game or a beer at a football tailgate party. They are everywhere. The problem with this is that performance-enhancing drugs are illegal. However, there are still lots of professional athletes and college athletes that use them to improve their game.

It seems like every day somebody is caught, coming clean, selling or has a court case for the use of performance-enhancing drugs. We all know about Barry Bonds and his infamous flaxseed oil. Jason Giambi admitted to using steroids before and after in his MVP season, and now female Olympic gold medalist Marion Jones confessed she took performance-enhancing drugs before the 2000 Olympic Games, where she won the five medals, three gold and two bronze, which she recently gave back. Jones vehemently denied using steroids in an interview in 2004, saying she had never taken any performance-enhancing drugs ever. Hmmm. Seems someone else denied using steroids as well. Can anyone say Rafael Palmeiro? How did that go, Mr. Palmeiro?

“I have never used steroids, period. I don’t know how to say it more clearly then that. Never,” said Palmeiro.

And of course we all know what happened; Mr. Palmeiro tested positive for steroids. What does Mr. Palmeiro claim? “I have never knowingly used performance-enhancing substances.” Gosh, that sounds familiar, too. Oh, of course, that Barry Bonds guy has claimed the same thing, the only difference is he hasn’t been officially caught. And how do you “unknowingly” take something? What, are you blindfolded when you eat your dinner and your personal chef sneaks some THG in your milkshake? Come on.

It has gotten to a ridiculous state, having an online poll to see what Mark Ecko will do with Barry Bonds’ record-breaking 756th home run ball. Ecko bought the infamous baseball to let the people of America decide the fate of it. And the people have spoken: An asterisk will be put on the baseball as it goes into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Who says democracy doesn’t work in America?

Now every time someone breaks a record, has a career year one year then the next year they don’t even crack the starting lineup, people will be asking, “Well, did he do that on his own or did he use illegal substances to help achieve those numbers?” It’s a debate that every sports talk radio program, columnist and TV personality has every time a big-name athlete gets caught. The next questions are who is going to be next and is there any real way we can eliminate steroids.

There is an answer to the whole steroid in sports topic. If the commissioners of their respective sports want to end this whole issue, they could. It’s quite simple, really. They can choose one of two options. The first one is to legalize all performance-enhancing drugs, let the athletes use them, and then no one will care if someone is using or not, they aren’t breaking any rules. And option two, which is the one I prefer, is to eliminate them altogether. Continue the random drug screenings that each sport conducts, test them more often in fact, and if an athlete does test positive, he or she is banned from the sport forever. Done. That individual would no longer be a professional athlete in that sport. A zero-tolerance policy is what professional sports needs. Either one of these options would eliminate the question of whether the athlete did or didn’t use steroids.

The sports world needs to address the issue of performance-enhancing drugs. Otherwise, we will have this debate for many more years to come.