For the Record
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In the wake of Yankees third baseman and confessed steroid user Alex Rodriguez joining the exclusive 600 HR Club on Wednesday and new controversy surrounding doping allegations against cyclist Lance Armstrong, drug use in sports is once again making headlines. Is it time that performance-enhancing drugs are allowed if athletes choose to use them, or should leagues and governing bodies remain vigilant in keeping PEDs out of sports?

Today on SI.com are two stories with opposing viewpoints. Michael Rosenberg writes:

"The first goal of any legal system should be to protect the innocent. And I sure hope there will always be a place in popular sports for athletes who simply want to be their very best, naturally. That is why sports need performance-enhancing drug testing. If you get rid of the testing, you punish those who are right so you can forgive those who are wrong."

But Paul Daugherty says this is all much ado about nothing:

"Let them do what they want. If it's legal and approved by the FDA, let professional athletes pop, inject, rub or otherwise ingest whatever they damned well please."

What do you think?

August 5, 2010  12:07 PM ET

Sorry, don't want to watch baseball players look like they came from the WWE.

August 5, 2010  12:16 PM ET

I don't think they should be allowed, but the rage over this is stupid. Arod deserves to be in the HOF, along with Bonds, Clemens, Manny, etc. Kevin Millar normally seems to be a pretty dumb guy, but he had it 100% correct when he said that steroids are not going to hang a curveball for you, or throw you a slider middle-in that doesn't break. Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle all did huge amounts of greenies. Think that helped them?

August 5, 2010  12:19 PM ET

Daugherty's article reminds me of the brain scan done on Jack Kemp after a violent hit - next day in bold headlines "Scan done , found nothing". I read the article hoping to find the tiniest bit of logic and common sense - "Found nothing".

Ist Amendment notwithstanding, this guy's mindset is dangerous to society.

August 5, 2010  12:21 PM ET

Tired of trying to compare greenies with steroids. It's ridiculous. Also, Paul Daugherty writes "Come on, parents. Do your jobs. Athletes aren't role models. Athletes need role models" So only athletes with bad parents would be able to compete if steroids were legal? Is that the argument? How can parents teach kids not to do steroids if that will be the only chance they have to try to make it professionally?

August 5, 2010  12:23 PM ET

The professional sports leagues should take a cue from auto racing and split into multiple classes... "unlimited" class where any kind of PED is allowed, and "restricted" leagues where PEDs are strictly forbidden.

August 5, 2010  12:23 PM ET

Just because everyone does it (hypothetically speaking) doesn't mean it's OK to do. What about young athletes? Is it worth the risk of doing PED's when so few go professional? Even if you're educated and supervised, PED's still pose certain health and psychological risks that aren't worth taking just to play a game better than usual. I understand how people are fascinated by sports and success, but I think it's sad that we would even consider taking such risks just to improve our swing speed or our bench press for a game. Just because everyone smokes marijuana or does cocaine (again, hypothetically speaking) doesn't mean it's OK to legalize; why should PED's be any different?

August 5, 2010  12:23 PM ET

Rosenberg seems caught up in the mystique surrounding "drugs" that's been ingrained in the public by the government to justify the war on drugs. The substances under consideration aren't some sort of voodoo potion; they are highly tested pharmaceuticals which have gone through the rigorous testing regime required for FDA approval. They have known effects, readily available for anyone who wants to know them, and any consenting adult should be able to make the informed decision to take them. There is no moral issue here.

If you want to crusade against something, go after the supplement industry. They really do prey on the ignorant.

August 5, 2010  12:26 PM ET

Why is it ridiculous? Amphetamines are well documented to increase energy, alertness and focus. No one who hits 600 home runs got there by scraping the tops of the walls. Even if the steroids are the super pill/shot most people think they are (they aren't) you're adding 5 feet of distance to a home run that would have cleared the fence by 30 feet anyway.

August 5, 2010  12:31 PM ET

Daughetry wrote, "It's time to be grown-ups about this. Time to stop holding pro athletes to a higher standard. Time to admit we'd do the same things they're doing. Because we like winning, too." The thing Daughetry forgets is that athletes are held to a higher standard because they get paid MILLIONS of dollars that is generated by the fandom of normal, hard-working people. I don't want to give my hard-earned money to a league that endorses using any legal substance under the sun, as long as the athletes "know" what they're taking and "understand" the ramifications. People like to say, "Who are we to demand that athletes act morally and professionally?", and to that I respond, "WE are their employers, not the team owners. Without the fans there are no sports. Without our dedication and enjoyment there are no teams to play for, and no league to play in. So we have the right, nay, the obligation to demand better of the athletes we are choosing to spend our money and time on. And if they don't like it, then don't play the game...try to make your millions elsewhere."

August 5, 2010  12:31 PM ET

Ok, you are telling me Bonds, Sosa, or McGwire would have hit over 62 homeruns in a season without the help of steroids?

August 5, 2010  12:39 PM ET

Its quite possible dude. Maris' season was a fluke too. He never, besides that one season, hit more than 40 home runs. Barry Bonds never hit more than 50 before suddenly hitting 73. With Bonds in particular, I'm more inclined to believe that it had a lot more to do with that giant piece of body armor on his elbow that allowed him to stand on top of the plate and made it impossible to pitch him outside. Then he cranks the inside pitch over a right field wall that's only 309 feet away, which is much closer than even yankee stadium.

August 5, 2010  12:48 PM ET

Ok, weird there were no flukes from 1962 to 1997, then all of a sudden from 1998-2001 three flukes of players hitting over 60 homeruns. I'm sure steroids had nothing to do with it though.

August 5, 2010  12:50 PM ET

It's a shame to even discuss this topic. Should we endorse people taking PEDs because we have an unquenchable thirst for the big play or the big stud? Idolatry and greed, unfortunately, lead to people feeling the need to consume and rely upon PEDs. Sad stuff.

If your son or daughter was good at something, really good, would you want them taking PEDs to get to the next level, in order to satisfy screaming high school or college fans? I cringe at the thought.

August 5, 2010  12:51 PM ET

I CAN'T BELIEVE THIS IS EVEN A DEBATE!!!!! Seriously? If you can't beat 'em, let 'em cheat?

(And just because something is FDA approved, doesn't mean it's appropriate over the counter, just for anyone.)

August 5, 2010  12:53 PM ET

To add: Part of the responsibility of sports governing bodies is to help protect the health & safety of athletes.....I fail to see how allowing them to swallow horse pills or otherwise treat their bodies like test grounds for PEDs satisfies that duty.

August 5, 2010  12:54 PM ET

I think that PEDs only became a "problem" in baseball when players began to challenge or eclipse some of the most hallowed records in the game's history.

I think that instead of demonizing PEDs and their users we should just simply acknowledge that this development is a continuation of competitive people gaining every edge they possibly can; and that this has existed throughout the history of the game.

How many hall of famers used amphetamines while they played? How many players have corked their bats? Players today, whether using PEDs or not, participate in year-round weight training programs and have access to scouting reports and video that better prepare them than their predecessors. They also play in smaller ball parks, and face pitchers who throw off of lower mounds.

Athletes and the way in which they train, will continue to evolve as time moves forward. The game also changes. Therefore, it makes little sense to get bent out of shape when historic records / landmarks are surpassed. Today it's PEDs, in the next generation it will likely be genetically modified athletes that are breaking all of the records.

For now, I believe we should just allow PEDs, but make athletes acknowledge they are using them so that these drugs will be administered safely.

August 5, 2010  12:58 PM ET

For now, I believe we should just allow PEDs, but make athletes acknowledge they are using them so that these drugs will be administered safely.

At what age do you start the cycle? Where's the line?

August 5, 2010  12:59 PM ET

Ok, weird there were no flukes from 1927 to 1961, then all of a sudden there were 2 flukes in one year, on the same team. I'm sure being historically great hitters had nothing to do with it though. It happens, man. I'm not saying the steroids didn't help them make themselves stronger, I'm saying that the effects are far less than what most people believe, and it's hypocritical to condemn Barry and Arod and Manny while celebrating Mantle, Aaron (greenies) Bob Gibson, Gaylord Perry (spitball) and Whitey Ford (a whole bunch of stuff).

August 5, 2010  01:06 PM ET

"Mom and Dad, you have to sign these permission slips for me. One that say it's ok for me to play sports and the other saying it's ok for me to take steroids."

 
August 5, 2010  01:08 PM ET

I'm sorry, when was the last time someone was killed in a fit of spitball rage?

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