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Drugs and Sports: A Modest Proposal

With Rafael Palmiero returning after his grueling 10-game suspension for violating Major League Baseball's drug rules, the attention is back on the whole drug problem in professional sports. A lot of people are calling for the major leagues to toughen their punishments of athletes who break the rules, while the players' unions are resisting such moves.

I think I have a simpler solution. I think we ought to simply eliminate all the penalties in sports for drug abuse.

But on the other hand, we can't simply ignore these violations. After all, these drugs are illegal. So instead of fining or suspending the athletes, let's make the people who administer the tests mandatory reporters to the police.

I think it's about time we stopped pussyfooting around with this issue. These are criminals, willfully evading the law and abusing drugs -- some restricted, some outright banned. Let's treat them like we would most ordinary people and haul them before the courts if they insist on violating the laws.

And if they are getting the drugs from a physician, it's time to haul the doc in, too. Let's see how many "sports physicians" keep pumping their patients full of Performance Juice after they've lost their license and are facing charges themselves.

And once the courts are done with these folks, then the leagues can have their turn at bat.


Comments (5)

I have often wondered, what... (Below threshold)
Eneils Bailey:

I have often wondered, what if I high-sticked the computer weenie with a blindside shot and broke his jaw because the office network went down. Should the administrative staff pump themselves up on steriods to help push those heavy pencils? At the least, questionable and most likely some criminal behavior could be found in that behavior. Professional atheletes should be held to some of the same standards. Professional sports have changed over the years, basketball has been taken over by the hip-hop culture, hockey has opened more franchises than Starbucks, and baseball calls the drug rehab clinc when they need a bring up another player. Pro football tries harder than the rest to maintain thier image, but they are fading fast. All Pro sports and players must be held accountable for criminal behavior.

You are half right. We need... (Below threshold)
fredsboy:

You are half right. We need to eliminate the penalties. We need to stop fooling ourselves into believing that the games that these guys play for millions of dollars per year and in some cases, per contest, are the same games that we played as kids, or as long as our talent allowed us to play.

These guys and women are freaks of nature who put their bodies through excrutiating pain and preparation in order to perform and get paid. If they don't recover fast enough, either some writer, who may have played tee-ball is accusing him of malingering or an owner wants to renegotiate. You can talk illegal drugs all you want. The fact is steroids were not BANNED in Major League Baseball until this season. Steroids are banned substances in other sports. They are no more illegal than painkillers, decongestants,and a slew of other medications that must be prescribed. We're not talking cocaine here, folks. THAT is an illegal drug.

Do we really want to comb through the record books to *asterik* all the records set during the prohibition era? Now alchohol WAS an illegal drug at that time. Do we now discount the accomplishments of the Cobbs, Gehrigs, and Ruths? And please don't let it be known that one of those guys included those old time "COKA-COLAs" in their pre or post game meal.

Finally, preach to your kids to not put these substances in their bodies. Although it is debatable as to whether steroids have long term detrimental effects on the body of a grown man, there is no debate as to what they can do to developing bodies. But don't try to Child-proof the world!

They just need to split spo... (Below threshold)
B Moe:

They just need to split sports up into classes, like auto racing:

Stock: just what god gave you

Modified: limited steroid use approved

Top Fuel: anything goes, shootin' up on the sidelines and snortin up in the field


They could wear color-coded... (Below threshold)
joe:

They could wear color-coded hats so we can tell juiced from non-juiced. A number on the back of the hat would record the number of violations.

Jovial. (OK, there. I start... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

Jovial. (OK, there. I started my entry with a 'j', now I'll get to my point.)

Before we get all squirrely and self-righteous about steroid use in baseball, perhaps we should take a step back and see just how big of a problem it really is, if it is indeed a "problem". Then, I think we can honestly talk about handing down punishments.

Currently, 6 MLB players (I throw out 2 playes who have spent more time in the minors than in the majors) have tested poistive for a banned substance, which includes illicit drugs (aka: pot, coke, speed, etc.), diruetics, some over-the-counter meds and, yes, steroids. There are 30 teams with 25-man rosters for a total 750 players. Which means, exactly .08%, not even 1%, have tested positive for a banned substance. Granted, MLB just started testing this year; it doesn't account for the years prior. But how any of us can say who was and wasn't juicing prior to this year, is just pure speculative nonsense. It makes for fun talk, sure. But it's largely nonsense.

I believe that if you're going to ban or punish someone for using a banned substance—in this case, steroids—then it should be proven that that substance enhancse a player's performance. And as I've pointed out numerous times here and to friends, I don't believe steroids help position players; but I do believe steroids can help pitchers.

My question to Jay would be this (and I don't the answer, but I'm going to make a pretty educated guess here): Are all steroids considered illegal by the government? My educated guess is, no, they are not. Steroids are often prescribed to medical patients to help regain muscle strength from surgeries and muscle-weakening diseases. Now which steroids do this and which are considered performance enhancing, sounds to me, at least on the surface, to be pretty darn vague; and there may be some if not a lot of crossover involved in the use and application of steroids, both medicinally and in sports. For instance, maybe stanzolol (Raffy's alleged steroid of choice) is used by MS patients as well as athletes. I'm not a doctor, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if there was some crossover there.

My thought is this: Is it really right to call players "criminals" who are "willfully evading the law and abusing drugs"? I don't think so; not when there is so much gray area surrounding the medical prupose and application of a drug that it is not considering illegal or illicit by medical professionals. I think that's excessive and over-reacting.

It's one thing when a doctor gets high on pain killers he's prescribed, but quite another when a pitcher is getting 2-3 mph more on his fastball. Should the player be punished? Absolutely. Should the player do hard time in county lock up? No way.

I'm all for one-year suspension on the first offense, but let's not call them criminals.




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