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Miller

Jed C. Miller
Professor Clint Johnson
English 1010
04 Aug, 2016

Steroid use has been around in professional sports for as long as steroids have existed and
performance enhancement, even longer. In the late 1800s and early 1900s the drugs used to
help an athlete get ahead were glycerin, strychnine, trimethl, heroin and cocaine. The first
charges placed on an athlete for blood doping (performance enhancing drugs or PEDs) was in
Amsterdam, Holland for the canal swimmers. As long as sports and competition have been
around, there has also been athletes trying to get an upper hand or take a shortcut to greatness.
With the Olympics going on, and the recent UFC drug testing system put in place, it seems that
sporting organizations are gaining a foothold on combatting steroid use. But, is it time to end the
bans on PEDs altogether and let athletes, coaches and medical staff to use and monitor the
substances safely?
Is it time to allow doping in professional sports?

Sports organizations serious about ending steroids


A large number of athletes, fans and corporate heads within the professional sports organizations
have embraced stricter testing for Performance Enhancing Drugs. With sports being an industry
with billions of dollars of revenue and millions in athlete contracts paid out every year, there is
no place for unfair advantages. There is too much on the line to allow the health and welfare of
athletes to be sidelined for a shortcut, undermining the hard work and true talent other athletes
spend a lifetime developing.
Performance enhancing drugs are running rampant through professional sports, there
arent a whole lot of people willing to fight against them. Sure there are programs put in place to

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try to detect athletes who may be using, but theyre underfunded and outdated. The UFC owners
Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta have recently enacted one of the most comprehensive drug and
steroid use testing programs that professional sports has ever seen. By bringing the Nations most
notorious steroid cop into their organization. Jeff Novitzky was the face of the investigation
that disbanded the BALCO (bay area laboratories Co-operation) which was the largest sports
doping ring in recent history, with athletes in the NFL, MLB and even reaching into the Olympic
ring.
With the Olympics rounding the corner, all eyes are on the International Olympic
Committee (IOC) to clear up the allegations against the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)
regarding the 2014 Winter Olympics, in Sochi. The IOC has launched a large scale investigation
in testing samples that have been stored for ten years and are heavily pressuring the Russian
Olympic committee to cooperate with WADAs investigation or they face banishment from the
2016 Olympics for their entire Track and Field Team. The IOC has established a zero
tolerance policy for performance enhancing drugs and has initiated talks of stricter punishments
for athletes who pop up with positive testing results.
For the first time, in an effort to gain the upper hand in the war on PEDs, Major League
Baseball has issued the highest level of punishment their Anti-Doping program allows, with a
lifetime ban from the sport. New York Mets pitcher Jenrry Mejia has failed a drug test for a third
time and will no longer be allowed to play baseball with the MLB. In an interview shortly after
the second dirty test he said "I know the rules are the rules, and I will accept my punishment, but
I can honestly say I have no idea how a banned substance ended up in my system. Weeks after
the ending of the second suspension he failed his third test. He is not the first player to fail a drug
test. With athletes like Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez and Jerry McGwire whose names carry

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further within the sport, all have tested positive for PEDs yet none of them ever received a lifetime ban from the sport. MLB has a repeal policy that is still in effect for now that would allow
him to be reinstated after a minimum of two years. However, if they are to be taken seriously in
their anti-doping efforts, they will need to revamp the punishments for athletes who provide
positive test results.

Changing the face of sports


This is becoming an era of athletes plagued by the competition of steroids. For those athletes
who arent using performance enhancing drugs themselves, they still have to compete with those
who are. Forcing their bodies to the absolute limits to keep up with enhanced human beings.
Back in the 80s it was few and far between to find an NFL player over 300 pounds,
William The Refrigerator Henry was about all they had for behemoths. Now, in todays NFL,
there are 300 players over the 300 pound threshold. There is speculation that Human-GrowthHormone (HGH) and anabolic steroids are the most likely causative factor. With scores of them
packing on 30 pounds--and some as much as 80 pounds--in a single year as stated in an
investigation conducted by the Associated Press, in reference to college football players adding
unfathomable muscle mass and change in body composition. Seeing the changes within this
sport, its hard to believe anything other than PEDs are responsible. Also, the NFL dragging
their feet and stalling the PEDs testing that most of the Olympians have to take should be a red
flag that they are unofficially supporting the use, or at the very least, turning the other cheek, of
steroids.
The newest of the designer drugs is available at supplement shops and is marketed as a
rapid recovery supplement. Insulin like growth factor-1 or IGF-1 has made its way to store
shelves with no age limit or prescription to buy. Its called deer antler spray and is on the list of

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banned supplements within most professional sports organizations. It works the same way that
HGH does in the body and allows your body to break its genetic code from restrictions on how
large, how fast and how strong you can become naturally. The way they are able to sell it so
freely is because they market it as a raw food from deer velvet and not a drug. And in this form
of raw foods, it has been accepted by sports organizations and jokingly labeled under athletes
competing without cheating on the Sports with Alternatives to Steroids (s.w.a.t.s.) webpage.
Even though it is marketed as a raw food organizations like the MLB and NFL still have it on
their banned substances list. With this inconsistency, and no real way to test for it, the
professional sports organizations need to reevaluate how they are going to win the war on banned
substances.
Certain drugs have been used throughout history as performance enhancements. It seems
that as long as there has been sports and competition, there has also been athletes trying to get an
upper hand or take shortcuts. The nineteenth century is where the discovery was annotated in the
history books. Although there werent HGH or anabolic steroids, athletes used heroin, cocaine or
even nitroglycerin to temporarily enhance their performance during events. July 23, 1896 welsh
cyclist Arthur Linton died of typhoid fever just weeks after his first place win in the BordeauxFrance race. Later to find, he had been using trimethyl during his training and through the
competition making him the first confirmed death from doping in professional sports. This
should bring to light the extent that certain athletes will go to gain an advantage, even if it is
illegal or harmful to their body. Also, that steroids arent the only thing they will use.

Why steroids are so prominent in professional sports

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There is only a small group who advocate the use of steroids, most being athletes who have used
them or the medical professionals who see the benefits to them. There are side effects for every
man made prescription drugs. Yet, every day, millions of prescriptions are filled and pills are
swallowed. So with all the drugs being used, maybe its just the moral compass that guides us
that frowns upon it. Changing the way the public sees performance enhancing drugs might be the
answer.
When you think of cheating in sports the first response is a physical alteration to
equipment to gain an advantage. Does a chemical supplement added to your bloodstream really
count as cheating? Most would say yes. Now imagine you feel your body breaking and youre
expected to perform at a certain level. The only way for some is in the form of a syringe filled
with youth. HGH has been proven to slow muscular degeneration and to heal minor injuries such
a sprains, stretched tendons and small muscle tears. Maybe this is why so many athletes lean so
hard towards PEDs so frequently. If we were to decriminalize steroid use in professional sports
and allow medical monitoring that would be a much safer route to healing and training, without
it being cheating. Accepting these currently banned substances as mainstream, doctors, parents,
athletes and coaches could acquire a greater knowledge and understanding of them. Athletes
could satisfy their drive to be faster and stronger said Kate Schmidt, a former Olympic track
and field Athlete.
Allowing steroid use in professional sports is often looked down on for the simple theory
that it would alter the sports industry. However, steroids are already altering professional sports.
Slowly football players have grown to giants, swimmers have become leaner and faster, and
baseball players are expected a home run every game. This would not have come to fruition
without steroid use. Even though there are fewer players on steroids than those who are not

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using, it effects everyone else. Teammates see this phenomenal athlete and do everything they
can to keep up while opponents are now pushing themselves past their limits to compete against
the athletes on PEDs. There are only two ways to level the playing field, ban steroids (which
theyve already done and are fighting everyday) or allow all athletes to train with whatever they
see necessary to perform and recover.
My personal opinion
We should be open as a society and allow athletes make an educated decision for using steroids.
If they know what the consequences are to their health and they still want to use them, we should
be mature enough to look at the athlete and not the syringe. Let the athletes find their absolute
limits and change the boundaries of physical restrictions. There is longstanding evidence that
certain steroids and human growth hormones have improved muscle recovery, increased
muscular longevity and helped to condition the body to resist against injuries. Sure, there are
side-effects. But every prescription drug made by man does. It should be the individual athletes
decision. Shouldnt we as a society, be mature enough to openly discuss the options to
destigmatize steroid use, and allow athletes to reach their full potential.

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Issues Researcher. Web. 29 Jul. 2016.
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"How Did Today's Supersized Football Players Get So Big?." USA TODAY. 28 Dec. 2012:
A.12. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 30 Jul. 2016.
Nolan, Stephen. "Is It Time to Allow Drugs in Sports?." University Wire. 18 Nov. 2014: n.p.
SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 21 Jul. 2016.
Pilon, Mary, and Gina Kolata. "New to Most Fans, IGF-1 Has Long Been Banned as a

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Performance Enhancer." New York Times. 30 Jan. 2013: B.13. SIRS Issues Researcher.
Web. 30 Jul. 2016.
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