Sunday, June 7, 2009

How to Deal With Performance Enhancing Drugs

There is a lot of talk, banter, and controversy in modern sports about performance enhancing drugs. The morality of the athletes is questioned, and the sincerity and dedication of leagues are questioned. Drug tests, stricter penalties, lifetime bans, and fines are many strategies of deterrence that are used. Personally, I believe all of these strategies are quite ineffective at eliminating the overbearing shadow that these drugs have casted over sports leagues.
Why might I suggest this? The reasoning is as follows. Continually, I see baseball, and track and field athletes getting fined or suspended for using PEDs. I have even seen a suspension for PED use in car racing. The fact that these players are caught may seem like a step in the right direction. However, if the players were really receiving the message; then, we would no longer see suspensions or abuse. With suspensions continuing long after the initial uproar about steroid use, one has to deduce that current strategies of deterrence are not working too great. Furthermore, the continual attention that media draws to the violations of PED rules only serves to exacerbate the problem. Repeated claims like “this is the steroid era”, and “all performances of this time have to be viewed with skepticism”, certainly, do not make it easier for fans to regain full appreciation of athletes and their skills. Thus, it would make sense to declare that media attention and the current league policies are not the solution to the problem of PEDs harming the image of sports.
Since I have illustrated why I believe the current league policies on steroids are not working, I will now offer my own solution to the problem. Eliminate the league policies on PEDs, and allow law enforcement agencies to handle the problems as they see fit. The problem with leagues acting as intermediaries between athletes and the law is that it draws the media’s attention to the problem, and the media attention only serves to further taint the leagues image. If leagues do not interfere, then fans will not hear about the violations as often. Thus, leagues can work on rebuilding their images.
I can imagine people reading this might think this will lead to unfair competitions. However, this all depends on what one will qualify as unfair. These drugs allegedly enhance performance, and when used for medicinal purposes, the drugs aid in recovery. Yet, the baseball audience still has not seen any athlete using PEDs come close to touching Cal Ripken’s streak of continuous games played. If PEDs were such an advantage this streak should have been broken by now as athletes would be able to stay healthy more easily. Furthermore, there are plenty of clean athletes that continually out perform athletes using PEDs. Thus, I will leave my critics on this note. BELIEF and CONFIDENCE are the strongest tools that any athlete can possess. Surely, one can not enter a competition and expect to win if they do not possess confidence in their abilities. Athletes using PEDs are actively illustrating that they lack these most vital tools of confidence and belief through their use of the PEDs. For this reason, it is clear that fans and media give PEDs way too much credit because any athlete that has faith in their own abilities has no worries about their opponent that is using drugs.

No comments:

Post a Comment