A Report on Steroids in Sports by Alexander Toglia
Alex Rodriguez, a former Mariners, Rangers and Yankees infielder, batting. Rodriguez is a noted steroid user.
Reasons and Risks of Steroid Use
Across the planet, athletes at all level use steroids in an attempt to gain an unfair advantage. While steroids do improve performance, there are great physical, mental, and legal risks to steroid use. Illegitimate use of steroids is also morally wrong, as this constitutes cheating.
Steroid use comes at great risk. A long list of symptoms such as severe acne, male breast growth, masculine characteristics in females, infertility, extreme aggression, and depression, which can last for a year after use, are common effects. Anabolic steroids without possession are illegal in the United States. Mere possession carries a penalty of up to a year in jail and a fine of over $1,000. Trafficking these drugs carries a penalty of 5 years and a $250,000 fine.
The Source of Steroids
There are two ways in the U.S. that steroids are commonly obtained. The first way is through prescriptions, where the drugs are sometimes used illegaly, and the second way is through a black market, in which steroids are trafficked from Europe or Mexico, where a prescription is not needed to get steroids. This black market is the most commonly used method for players who are doping.
Steroids are used as a legitimate medication, for conditions like breast cancer and delayed puberty. However, in the wrong hands, these prescription steroids can be used for doping--using steroids to gain an advantage in sports.
Russia and State Sponsored Doping
Vladmir Putin, Russia's president, who denied for months Russia's state sponsored doping program.
The Russian government has on multiple occasions given athletes steroids, and then denied it. Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, Russian President Vladmir Putin denied a Russian doping regime, stating "In Russia there never was - it is simply impossible and we will do everything for this never to be the case - a state doping system and support for doping."
In the McLaren report, over 1000 Russian athletes were indicted for doping across 30 sports, between 2011-2016. Many were stripped of their metals and given lengthy bans in their sport.
Steroids in the NFL
The Eagles play the Texans in football, a sport were juicing is especially advantageous.
However, steroid use is not just a problem in the Olympics. In the United States, especially in football and baseball, steroid use is a major problem.
In the NFL, steroids were used quite early, just years after they were used by the Russians in the 1952 Olympics. In a sport where success often depends on pure strength, players discovered that steroid use could help their performance. In 1963, for example, the Chargers dominated due to a steroid program.
Steroids in the MLB
Barry Bonds, the MLB's all time home run leader, batting. Bonds almost certainly used steroids.
However, steroids are an even bigger problem in the MLB; in the "Steroid Age", players like Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, and Mark McGwire used steroids, leading to the increased rate of home runs in that age. One player, Jose Canseco, who admitted to steroid use said, bluntly, "the national pastime is juiced", and another time said that 85 per cent of players juiced. Former Dodgers reliever Eric Gagne also wrote that 80 per cent of this dodgers teammates used steroids.
Eventually, steroid use came back to bite the MLB. While Canesco's and Gagne's numbers might not be exact, the Mitchell Report, released in 2007, indicted 89 players, and there is almost no doubt that many other players were using steroids at the time.
Jennry Mejia, who becomes the first player to receive a lifetime ban from the MLB for doping, pitching for the Mets
Steroid use is obviously still a problem today in the MLB. In 2013, 13 players were given a combined 811 game suspension in the Biogenesis steroid scandal. Just as shockingly, former Mets pitcher Jennry Mejia got a lifetime ban for using steroids for the third time, while he was still serving a suspension for using steroids a second time.
It's not Just the Pros
A high school football game. It is likely that at least one player playing in this game is using steroids.
However, steroid use is not just a problem at the professional level. Steroid use, while not as common as in the pros, is still an issue at the high school level.
According to the Foundation for Sports Development, at least 4 percent of 12th graders and 2.5 percent of 10th graders have used steroids. In fact, even middle schoolers have been known to use steroids, with 8th graders having used steroids at a 2.5 per cent rate. These numbers, unfortunately, are likely grossly under-exaggerated, as, especially at the lower levels of sports, the true extent of steroid use will never be known.
However, athletes today use other performance enhancing drugs to gain an advantage; with less side effects and risks. These other drugs can also be used to mask steroid use. For example, Alderall is commonly used in baseball, as energy and concentration increase when this drug is used by those without ADHD.
Steroid use in sports is obviously a major blemish in the sporting world, and must be stopped. But what can we do to stop this issue? We need harsher penalties for steroid use, and most importantly, we must educate young athletes on the risks of steroid use