BY: MATT CRUMP
One of the biggest topics flying around the sports world right now is Lance Armstrong and his confession of using Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs) while competing. Another hot topic is the in-season human growth hormone testing the MLB has announced for the upcoming season.
Both of these actions have caused swarms of different opinions flying around. I thought I’d chip in my two cents on the issue.
Using steroids to enhance your performance has been a hot topic in sports for years and years. I’ve been following the PED controversies in MLB ever since Roger Clemens testified in front of Congress about his alleged use.
Here’s a little anecdote about how PEDs have personally affected me: I remember what I like to call the “Great Home Run Chase of 1998.” Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa were racing to see who could break Roger Maris’s record from 1961.
I was six years old, and I was rooting for McGwire. I had books about him, I ate at McDonald’s because he advertised for them and I even rooted for him when he played against my team, the Cincinnati Reds. He was my role model. I was so happy when he broke the home run record my brother and I ran around the house cheering.
Those are some of my favorite sports memories. When McGwire announced in 2010 he used PEDs in his career, legal ones and illegal ones, I was crushed. A childhood hero who I had looked up to crashed down on my beliefs. How could Mark McGuire have cheated when he broke the record? It really hurt the six-year-old in me.
The legacies of athletes who used PEDs and got caught are destroyed. Armstrong recently was stripped of his Tour de France titles and ousted from his position at his charity. Sammy Sosa and Roger Clemens were just denied entry into the Baseball Hall of Fame for their suspected steroid use.
Why would you risk your reputation on using drugs? Maybe they couldn’t get that reputation or perform that well without the drugs. Does that make them the better athlete?
Some people want PEDs to be legalized. This would allow the playing field to be even because everyone can be enhanced. My problem with that logic is legalizing PEDs opens a door. If everyone can use drugs, won’t people start finding more powerful, dangerous drugs? Athletes who use PEDs aren’t trying to be better than them. They want to be better than everyone else.
I guess I feel a little old fashioned about PEDs. I feel like sports and other physical competitions should not allow drugs that chemically change your body. Everyone should be on an even playing field, and steroids and other PEDs takes away that fairness.
Some people think any way to spice sports up, like allowing the use of PEDs, is a good thing. I think it takes away some of the magic of watching athletes give their all.