Drugs in Professional Sports

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Does it matter if professional athletes use drugs to better compete in their sports? Lance Armstrong is finding out the hard way that drugs are not acceptable in professional cycling. Or was he blood doping? Who knows and does it really matter?

Why don’t we let them all use any performance enhancing drug so we can watch super human feats and watch records tumble every season or every week! This won’t happen and not for the reasons you think. People will say that it is all about player safety and that the sports must be regulated in order to ensure fair competition and for the long term health of the players.

I may be cynical but I believe the real reason is to avoid costly legal problems and lawsuits in the long term. Officials have long been ok with turning a blind eye as players did whatever they could to play every game and to make the game more exciting. Recently some sports like hockey and football are starting to see class action lawsuits related to health problems of former players.

There is also the problem of kids using performance enhancing drugs at an earlier and earlier age as many high school kids are now taking steroids in order to compete and win college scholarships.

So the list of “acceptable” drugs will get shorter and the list of “unacceptable” drugs will get longer, but will athletes stop taking these drugs with so much at stake? There is a lot of money in professional sports and for many kids it is their best shot at making it big.

If sports officials (and courts!) can determine which drugs are not harmful to the long term health of an athlete, why not let them all take them so we can see the best players play and all of them on an equal playing field. This seems more realistic than thinking all players will stop taking performance enhancing drugs.

I guess I am cynical.

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