Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Steroids "Issue"

Let me preface my comments by mentioning that by far baseball is the sport I first truly loved as a kid and personally it is still my favorite. I'm sure everyone is aware of "The Story" so I won't bother rehashing what the Worldwide Leader has no doubt beat down your throat by this point (makes you look forward to the slob-fest Florida will be getting when half their games are on the Mother Ship next year, huh?). Here are my first three thoughts when I heard that Alex Rodriguez tested positive for steroids in the "anonymous" testing that was performed in 2003.

(1) Don't Care
(2) Don't Care
(3) Don't Care

Maybe I'm just desensitized at this point in my life, but this has been my position ever since 1998 when Mark McGwire's "Andro" issue came up. Frankly, I couldn't care less that some athlete decides it is in his or her best interest to ingest a"performance enhancing drug". Perhaps the libertarian in me comes out and I believe in a degree of personal responsibility (what a concept - sarcasm heavily implied). I feel in the last decade or so we've decided it's easier to let the federal government figure our problems out rather than take responsibility for our actions.

I hate that these guys get vilified for this and labeled with the Scarlet letter "J" for "Juicer". Here's a more poignant question. What exactly is a "performance enhancing drug"? The easy answer is one that enhances performance on the field. I understand that some of these guys are using to get stronger which inherently may be the difference between warning track power and home run power. I also believe many pitchers used things like Human Growth Hormone in order to recover faster from injury or fatigue in order to get back out on the field to help their team. We treat those guys like they are the scum of the Earth when they reveal that fact. What about the guy like Steve McNair that had to take a shot of cortisone every Sunday just to numb the pain so he could get on the field and help his team? We call him a warrior, a hero, any number of glorious nouns could apply. How is taking that cortisone shot not "performance enhancing"? Without it, the athlete could not perform.

I realize the obvious rebuttal to my example is that steroids are considered illegal, controlled substances while cortisone is a legal substance. That's a fair argument. The main problem I have is that we're quick to point out these guys as villains when all they did is what was readily available for the next guy to do in order to perform at the highest level.

That leads to the question of : "Is taking steroids wrong?". I don't have an answer for that. I don't have a moral objection to a person putting whatever they damn well please in their own body. My opinion is that if it harms you, then you obviously learned your lesson. There are plenty of studies and examples such as Lyle Alzado to point out the potential ramifications of long-term use. Players are fully aware of the risks they take with their bodies when introducing these substances.

The other argument I hear is "What about the example these guys are setting for children?". That is also a fair point. I idolized Greg Maddux and John Smoltz when I was a kid. I wanted to be just like them. I assure you had Mad-Dog or Smoltzie been using steroids, I would not have been influenced by them to do so. This also comes back to my argument of personal responsibility. My parents taught me the difference between what is good and what is bad for me. Inherently, when a kid takes a substance like this I do not feel you can point fingers at an athlete. You point fingers at the kid's parents and his support group. It is not the responsibility of Congress or Major League Baseball to teach right from wrong. That goes back to the personal responsibility shouldered by the family.

Ultimately, I hope this story dies a quick death. We all know it won't though because the Worldwide Leader is involved so they will milk it until it's completely dead and then repackage it to us in a half-hour special.

This is the best news that I can think of regarding this situation. I really hope Congress stops having these sham parades anytime it feels it needs to protect me from myself. I hate the fact that my taxpayer money is funding investigations of Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens just because they did not want to admit something that frankly is nobody else's business but theirs. To me, this is government intrusion into our personal lives at its worst. I feel we are better served spending our federal money figuring out how to bring our boys home from two wars in the Middle East and solving the worst economic crisis to face our nation since the Great Depression.

Okay, now I can get back to making petty jokes about Urban Meyer and Lane Kiffin. By the way, keep Mr. Meyer and his family in your thoughts and prayers as he is currently with his father in Ohio who is battling cancer. I may not like Urban Meyer the coach, but it's never a good experience when one's parent is sick.


Bernie said...

And Lane is such the gift to the SEC Blogosphere isn't he?

Great post. It's unreal sometimes how ESPN can continue to regurgitate crap to a welcoming audience.

Billy said...

Most ballplayers today are taking homeopathic hgh oral spray because it's safe, undetectable, and legal for over the counter sales. As time goes on it seems it might be considered as benign a performance enhancer as coffee, aspirin, red bull, chewing tobacco, and bubble gum.