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|Posted: Sun Mar 21, 2010 7:52 am Post subject: Steroid Use in Professional Sports - Why or Why not?
|Hey there guys...
this is something that's always been a great debate for me - so lets keep it civil and make sure to listen to everyone's point of view. No name calling please!
Being that I am a personal trainer, NATURAL bodybuilder (I don't use steroids), a lifelong student to the field of health and wellness - as well as a sports fanatic, I have quite a big belief that not many people agree with me on.
I feel that steroids (given my knowledge of them), should NOT be banned from professional sports because of "cheating." The only rule that would make any sense to me about steroids being banned is because they are illegal (federally). But as far as performance and "cheating" are concerned, I take an alternate stance - here is my reasoning.
1. Anabolic Steroids when taken properly will rapid muscular gains when combined with a proper diet and strength training routine. However, the same can be said about natural compounds such as Creatine Monohydrate, Tribulus, ZMA, etc. Now, obviously Anabolic steroids do in fact provide a faster and larger effect than these supplements - however so what? Unless you work out PROPERLY and have a PROPER diet, you can be on all the steroids you want and never see any gains...unless you consider hair loss and estrogenic side effects to be gains.
2. We watch professional sports for ENTERTAINMENT. I know all of us like to really get into our sports a lot and yell at the TV and become armchair quarterbacks. However, these guys are playing their sports and being paid as much as they do because it ENTERTAINS us. We love to be entertained! So when we have football players getting bigger and bigger because of proper diet/exercise and the addition of steroids or even natural supplements - it provides us a further core of entertainment. The same goes for MLB when we see players hitting more home runs, and throwing the ball harder. We love to see action! If we could back to the dead-ball era of baseball that we all reminisce about (honus wagner, ty cobb, babe ruth, etc) - there was a lot less total "entertainment value" for the day than there is today. Players were not as skilled, didn't perform at such a high intensity, nor did you see as many crazy things happen. Babe Ruth was one of the exceptions and pioneers of the longball that made us all crave the swing for the fences.
3. Just because someone is most muscular doesn't make them a better ball player. In some respects it might make them worse depending on how well they train. Example at hand would be the mind-muscle connection that allows a person to swing a bat or throw a ball. The more muscle you have, generally speaking, the slower the muscle twitch response. A gigantic pro bodybuilder like jay cutler or ronnie coleman would have NO chance at hitting against a major league pitcher. However, a lean and skilled player like Albert Pujols just wrecks the baseball at any opportunity he gets. Granted, players like Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, and Sammy Sosa just demolished the ball in terms of home runs (based on pure power + skill), however even without steroids I am confident with their amount of training and skill, they would have still been able to beat home run records. Remember, if thin and skilled players can hit home runs - the total size and strength of a player doesn't make as MUCH a difference as people think. It all comes down to skill, practice, and ability.
4. If you consider steroids cheating because they give the player an unfair advantage against players who don't use it - would you consider creatine, vitamins, exercising regularly, or a good diet plan to be cheating as well? Because not ALL players participate in those fields...does that mean that it gives an advantage to those who use it? Absolutely. But is this wrong? I don't think so.
5. The biggest problem at hand that I have with steroid use is that the reason the MLB has it banned isn't because of advantages over other players - it's because its a federally banned substance. Cocaine, Marijuana, LSD etc. are also all banned from the MLB. However, they are not performance enhancers - just mind altering drugs. If the federal government lifted the ban against steroids - I think professional sports would follow suit - after all, they don't need to cover themselves anymore. I actually think players would be ENCOURAGED to take them in order to increase their size and muscularity to put on a better show.
So in essence...I agree with the idea that it is technically cheating to take steroids because it violates the MLB rulebook and players guide - but it isn't cheating in the purest sense which is that players are using unfair and unethical practices to excel. An example would be corked bats, throwing dirt in a players face to make him drop the ball, or putting laxative in the opposing teams Gatorade. These are direct unfair and greatest examples of "CHEATING". I still stand by the fact that from a pure sports point of view, using steroids is not cheating - but merely violating a rule that is set into place for the professional sports to cover their donkey against federal legislation.
You all are welcome to offer your points of view - just remember, please keep an open mind and be civilized.