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Performance Enhancment Drugs

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Performance-Enhancing Drugs in Sports

The biggest controversy in Major League Baseball today is the illegal use of performance-enhancing drugs. With some of the biggest names in the sport involved, this scandal has the potential to ruin lucrative careers and make paupers out of millionaires. A more far-reaching result is the loss of respect between players and their fans. As the national pastime, baseball encourages a healthy interaction between athletes and fans. Players have a moral responsibility to keep the game honest. While these drugs may enhance an athlete's performance, they have numerous side-effects. Secondly, these drugs can ruin an athlete's reputation while questioning their true abilities and accomplishments. Finally, the use of performance enhancing drugs allows athletes to gain an unfair advantage over other athletes that play the game honestly. The use of performance-enhancing drugs in sports is not only illegal, but morally wrong.

Performance-enhancing drugs improve an athlete's ability to perform, however they also have numerous side effects. The most widely used drugs are anabolic steroids. "The inhibition of natural hormones is probably the most common and probable side effect experienced from the use of anabolic steroids. In almost all cases, adding a hormone into your body will send a message to your endocrine system to stop producing it. This is because your body wants to remain in a very balanced state -- called "homeostasis" (Roberts, 2000-2006). Athletes that use anabolic steroids are aware of the physical damage to themselves, but some are willing to pay the price for using the steroids. "In an effort to combat this (physical damage), athletes have experimented throughout the years with various compounds to avoid or at least limit this problem. Human Chorionic Gonadotropin, anti-estrogens, and Selective Estrogen Receptor Antagonists are all used during a cycle, or after (or both) with this goal in mind" (Roberts, 2000-2006). It has been said that athletes who take performance-enhancing drugs develop "roid rage". Roid rage can be defined as an athlete having increased assertiveness. "Although it's highly rare (less than 5%), significant psychiatric symptoms have been found in some steroid users, including aggression and increased violence, mania, and even psychosis" (Roberts, 2000-2006). A few years ago when Barry Bonds was in the hunt for the Most Valuable Player Award he got into a verbal argument as well as a shoving match with teammate Jeff Kent. Some fans say that all the roid rage got to Bonds and he flipped out on his own teammate. Another example of Bonds showing off his roid raged temper took place when McGwire and the St. Louis Cardinals came to San Francisco during McGwire's chase for the homerun record. The Giants organization roped off part of the field for McGwire during batting practice. This made Bonds very angry and upset. He was ranting and raving about that this was his home field and that this isn't going to happen in my house. Not only can the side effects of the drugs be harmful to the body, but it can change the attitude of a athlete.

The use of performance-enhancing drugs can ruin the reputation of an athlete, as well as question the accomplishments they have achieved. We all remember 1998, when Mark McGwire broke the single-season homerun record, previously held by Roger Maris. After he broke this record, some people thought that since he admitted earlier in his career to using a prohormone called androstenedione to reach this barrier. Prohormones, while no more legal than steroids, are also not as potent. Scott Pitoniak notes that some people think baseball should reinstate Maris' homerun record "because he was the last player to hit that many without the aid of a performance-enhancing drug" (Pitoniak, 2004). McGwire's record did not last nearly as long as Maris' did. In 2001, Barry Bonds, who is currently the center of attention in baseball for using performance-enhancing drugs, broke that record. The allegations of steroid use against Barry Bonds have been a thorn in his side ever since. Although Bonds has never tested positive for any performance-enhancing drugs there are many critics that believe he has used them. For example, Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams say that "Bonds continued to insist publicly that he had never used banned drugs, and the San Francisco Giants, who were paying him $17 million per year, made no move to investigate his conduct or restrict his contact with suspected steroid dealers, arguing that there was no proof of wrongdoing .Nevertheless, proof of Bonds's drug use exists, most of it in the possession of federal agents, much of it in the public domain. The evidence includes the statements of confessed steroid dealers, the account of a Bonds confidante, and considerable documentary and circumstantial evidence as well" (Fainaru-Wada, Williams, pg.271). Presently, Bonds is closing in on Hanks Aaron's record for the all-time career homerun leader. The fans in San Francisco celebrate when Barry Bonds' name is said over the loudspeaker. However, when he is on the road it's a different scenario. For example, Fainaru-Wada and Williams write "Bonds's (sic) first road trip of 2005 began in Washington, D.C. The fans seemed unusually hostile.



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