The use of banned performance-enhancing drugs in sports, commonly referred to as doping, is slowly but surely ruining the professional sports world.
Most notably, Lance Armstrong, once seven-time Tour de France champion, finally confessed to doping in an interview with Oprah Winfrey after years of speculation. He was stripped of all his titles on Oct. 22, 2012.
Moreover, no eligible candidates were elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame this year — voters were skeptical with regard to the outstanding performances of steroid-tainted stars such as Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Roger Clemens.
In fact, this was only the second time in four decades that no players were given the honor of being elected into the prestigious hall, which is quickly going from the Hall of Fame to the hall of shame.
In this era of performance-enhancing drugs within professional sports, one could say that everyone is guilty. Some players used PEDs while others did nothing to stop the widespread use among their peers. This burden comes with a price, as outstanding performances in any professional sport are now being questioned and records such as Bonds’ all-time home run record have asterisks next to them.
It seems as if it was just yesterday when Ben Johnson’s gold medal was stripped in the 1988 Seoul Olympics for using steroids. Even though many international sports organizations, led by the International Olympic Committee, continue to implement harsh penalties and rules against the use of PEDs, the sporting world continues to see high-profile athletes on the front-page news across the globe for doping.
So if everyone is using PEDs and it’s a natural development in the game, then why don’t all the professional sports leagues and their governing, anti-doping agencies just go ahead and allow them?
Plain and simple: It’s cheating.
As students, we aren’t allowed to cheat and if we do, there are consequences. What these athletes need to understand is that there are consequences and negative repercussions for their actions, not only personally but for the entire sporting world.
The consequences include, but are not limited to, expulsions, suspensions, fines, health problems and — not to forget — setting a bad example for children and teenagers who look up to these athletes.
A study published November 2012 in the journal Pediatrics reported that nearly 6 percent of middle school and high school girls and boys in the U.S have taken a steroid or growth hormone, which is quickly turning this issue from a sporting problem to a public health issue.
With all of these athletes using PEDs, we can’t tell who is and isn’t using. Even when athletes deny using them, like Armstrong did for so many years, we don’t know who is telling the truth. There are now many cases of athletes like Clemens and Bonds being called to testify in front of the grand jury and being charged with perjury for lying about their use of PEDs.
These days, when one sees a baseball player such as Josh Hamilton hit three home runs in a game or a football player such as Adrian Peterson rush for 2,000 yards in a season, they do not think as much about the player’s amazing athletic performance, but more about whether or not that player is performing so well because of an increased use of PEDs.
Question marks and asterisks are never good in sports since they will always leave the game in doubt. However, their increased presence in the results of games and record books plagues the sporting world today. With more and more players using PEDs, the game will never end — that’s just the truth.
Darian Nourian is a freshman majoring in print and digital journalism.