Athletic competition has been a part of our society since the beginning of time. Although, professional athletes are fully equipped and good enough to play in professional sports, many of these athletes feel pressured into using performance enhancing drugs to better their athletic skills in the sport. Throughout this essay, I will discuss the use of these drugs, and why I feel athletes should not use performance enhancing drugs in sports, as well as discussing the point of view made by the athlete including their reasoning why they choose to use performance enhancing drugs.
How our laws are used to enforce the ban of illegal substances and how the laws affect the athletes. Since, athletes are in the public eye, their behavior affects children and adults who look up to them as role models. Performance-enhancing drugs and the act known as “Doping,” have had a prolonged history in the Olympic games. However, several sports have been involved such as cycling, mixed martial arts, baseball and football.
The World Anti-doping Agency is the organization that oversees the testing for the Olympics and several sports.
Anabolic steroids, are the key substance that athletes use to violate ethics and laws to be superior amongst other athletes. Anabolic steroids are attractive to athletes and competitors because they increase the size and strength of muscles, inducing an unnatural boost in aggressiveness and competitiveness, which in sports are popular traits. The use of illegal substances in sports has been banned for legitimate reasons. Performance enhancing drugs carry a number of health risks and side effects.
Some of the extreme examples of side effects of performance enhancing drugs are liver damage, impotence, increased aggressiveness, and as a result of withdrawal from performance enhancing drugs, depression and occasionally suicide (“Effects of PEDs”), just to name a few. Overall, use of these substances are dangerous, unethical and illegal and have no place in organized sports. Radley Balko, a senior editor of reason. com, debated on the side of supporters that approve of the use of performance enhancing drugs, and brought to light a well thought out argument.
He said, “Any world-class athlete subjects his body to stresses it wasn’t really designed to endure” (Balko). A prime example, a Professional Baseball player’s body is not designed to play 162+ games of baseball each year, but they subject them selves to this for the love of the game. Therefore, why should athletes be allowed to endure excessive stress and punishment of their body for their sport as well as for the entertainment of millions, but not be allowed to use something that is proven to increase their stamina and ability to perform better.
As with every controversial issue, there are both positive and negative point of views to each side. While I understand the previous argument, I feel that courage, determination, and natural skill are the traits that organized sports are built from. If an athlete is allowed to use performance enhancing drugs to make themselves faster or stronger, they have an advantage over the athletes who prefer not to put their health at risk and use their natural talent.
Those who support the opposing argument might believe that this is the athlete’s choice to take or not take the performance enhancing drugs and if they don’t, it is no ones fault but their own. However, the athlete who chooses to play natural should not be pressured into using drugs that could affect their long term health just to keep up with those who do use them. The life of a professional athlete is a desired one, but the pressure to perform and entertain will always be apparent. Through out the 20th century baseball was once seen as “America’s favorite pastime,”.
Intentionally or not, The game suddenly got a second breath of life as players started shattering home run records and again brought excitement to the Game. For instance, in the late 1990s, the revival of baseball was merited by players like Sammy Sosa, Barry Bonds, and Mark McGwire, who chose to use banned substances to have an impact on their career, but ultimately revived baseball. This, is an example of how the use of steroids was an advantage, and how the entire sport of baseball was affected in a positive way, giving all sports enthusiast more excitement in sports.
However, we see that when the opportunity came to honor these players in the hall of fame, sports illustrated addressed that Sosa and Barry Bonds were denied entry to the Hall of Fame in their first year of eligibility amid suspicions their accomplishments were boosted by performance-enhancing drugs (Sports Illustrated). Many professional athletes have taken the idea of being the best to the extreme. The moment that allows a professional athlete to shine is when they are at a sports event.
It allows them to give their best, giving the athlete the opportunity to prove they are better than their competitors. It seems like there is a widespread of illegal use of performance enhancing drugs in all areas of sports such as professional, college, and high school. Athletes, take these drugs believing that it provides a competitive advantage. The deliberate use of steroids as an attempt to gain an unfair advantage over other competitors is “cheating. ” Most athletes would agree that the competitive drive to win can be extremly intense and at times unbearable.
Along with the satisfaction and personal gain, young talented athletes often pursue their dreams of making it to the Olympics, receiving a college scholarship or in rare cases a place on a professional team. This environment competitive, in nature, was created by our culture, has led to the common use of steroids and other performance-enhancing agents in sports. For many athletes, winning at all costs includes making the decision to use anabolic steroids and other performance enhancing drugs.
Many of these athletes appear to achieve physical gains and improved performance from the use of these drugs, but at what cost? The fact of the matter is that long-term side effects of steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs have not been rigorously tested. Benefits are short term and are often flawed with many potential risky side-effects as well as costly consequences. Some consequences are loss of medals, scholarships, eligibility to play professional sports, and in some cases even the loss of life. An increase in action by sports officials, should be taken to police use of performance enhancing drugs.
The use of these banned substances, should be stopped, before they become a social normality. Children who grow up wanting to become their favorite all star, believe that with hard work and dedication they can make their dreams come true. However, come to find out that their favorite star gained their success by cheating, setting a negative example to our youth. As testing and methods of detection have evolved so have the banned substances, becoming more familiar to athletes and the professionals that assist in the illegal process, better known as doping.
The methods to avoid detection have become more advanced with the development of substances to mask the contraband found on a routine test. Although, these substances are found and have become illegal, the problem still persist. Drastic measures need to be taken by governing bodies in sports to set aside personal gain and form a united front to fight doping at all levels. The illegal use of performance enhancing drugs affects more than just the health of the athletes who take them.
Studies have suggested that the use of steroids has begun as early as in high school, and the use of steroids by professional athletes has without a doubt had an impact on the minds of our youth influencing their decision to engage in this unhealthy and illegal activity. Many children even believe that steroids will not harm their body at all if they are used carefully (Wroble et. al. ). The results of this is that children will often mimic their role adding to the numbers of children who take performance enhancing drugs themselves.
In Conclusion, we come to find that performance enhancing drugs gives athletes an unfair advantage in competition, giving them a boost in stamina and strength allowing athletes to perform at unnatural heights. The use of performance enhancing drugs in sports can actually be described by one word ‘Cheating. ’ The laws need to become stricter in order to discourage the use of performance enhancing drugs. Every accusation, of a professional athlete using banned substances in professional sports has a negative affect on fans and spectators.
Their careers and health are not the only concerns that are jeopardized. They have to keep in mind the fans that cheer for them as well as the children who look up to them. By character, every athlete would like to perform at a higher level than their competition, but not by using unethical practices. The idea that these are normal human beings like you and I, pushing themselves to their natural limit, is what adds to the admiration of these athletes. When athletes perform in a sport we celebrate their achievements, their personal victories, and most importantly we celebrate athletes as true heroes.
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