Let 'em Eat Steroids

|

More evidence that the oft-mocked, much-ridiculed Washington Times is one damn great newspaper: Here's a story from today's that dares ask the unthinkable, especially among the collective tribe of idjit galoots known as sportswriters:

What if the knee-jerk outrage over "flaxseed oil" is just that? What if the steroid sanctimony is utterly misplaced? What if athletes were free to juice?

In an eminently sensible, fair, and balanced piece (one that interviews Reason's own Jacob Sullum), Patrick Hruby comes up with some non-apocalyptic, non-apoplectic answers.

This is a performance-enhanced age, an era of Viagra-popping, Botox-shooting bliss. Wellness is the standard; better than well is the goal. Genetic therapy promises a brave new world of medical breakthroughs. New doping techniques, too.

Drugs are easily banned. Human nature? Not so much.

"I don't say this easily, but I'm getting to the point where as long as we don't legalize these drugs in society, let the athletes do what they want," [Penn State epidemiologist Charles] Yesalis said. "At least it would be a more honest portrayal of what is already happening."

Whole thing here.

My two ccs of Dianabol from a while ago.

NEXT: Electoral College Surprise

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. as long as we don’t legalize these drugs in society, let the athletes do what they want

    This will, however, very much undo the entire foundation of the Steroid Control Act. As a friend of mine (who defends steroid cases) pointed out, the entire transcript of debate in Congress focused almost exclusively on the “fair play” issue. Mostly because there just wasn’t that much to say about the terrible health effects of steroids.

    As Joe “Tailgunner” Biden put it, “I think you are going to see, over the next several years, some real backlash from the public about sports in America… There is a growing feeling of resentment and I don’t know how it will manifest itself.”

    Presumably by a nation wide fit of yawning.

  2. I’ve been waiting for someone to say something like this for a long time. Why the heck don’t we let athletes take whatever they want to? If they are pursuing the “ultimate” in human accomplishment pull out the stops and let them go. Technology is an accomplishment too. Let the boxers eat dynamite. Have broad jumpers take kangaroo DNA. Put two teams of 7 foot Chinamen on a basketball court surrounded by chainlink. In the interest of fair-play you could have a league for the all natural folks as well, but a meta-human sports league would serve a lot of purposes. It would close down all the hypocritical sportswriters who talk about the fans not standing for it. (Anybody want to take bets on which leagues would get better ratings- the naturals or the enhanceds?) There would be no need for the asterisk debate. And once again athletes would be an example for the children (such as for the dangers of both drug use and compulsive over-achievement when last year’s hero is sprouting tumors like a ripe potato this year). It would also serve as a scientific study for all these drugs. Some might turn out to be safe enough for the rest of us to use. Then they could pay for their own stadiums with the endorsement money from the pharmaceutical companies. A libertarian idea if I ever heard one.

    Ah, for the days of real sports, when some guy with a knee MRI indistinguishable from a plate of spaghetti would shoot himself up with pain killers and play anyway.

  3. “And once again athletes would be an example for the children (such as for the dangers of both drug use and compulsive over-achievement when last year’s hero is sprouting tumors like a ripe potato this year). ”

    Nice 🙂

    I’ve only read the extract but changes to the law would need to be approved in the majority of countries that take part in competitive sports, otherwise American athletes would simply be excluded.

    The most photographed woman in sports is probably Anna kournikova; she was right to draw the line at working out so much she started looking like a man – she maintained a nice balance that has done her income potential no harm at all. Tennis is only a game, there’s more money in advertising. If you legalise drugs to build muscle mass, competitive sports will start to look like a freak show, although I bet there are those who like that sort of thing…

  4. More evidence that the oft-mocked, much-ridiculed Washington Times is one damn great newspaper

    As someone who has been to several Washington Times Christmas parties and knows a half dozen Washington Times employees, I can say with full confidence that the place is loaded with crazies. They still manage to get things right now and then, but the place is a nut house.

  5. Perhaps slightly off topic, but if MLB really wants to get rid of steroids, why doesn’t it move all the outfield walls back 30 or 40 feet? This way, even the ‘roid freaks won’t be able to hit 50 homers, and the value of guys who can turn doubles into triples and inside-the-park-homers with their speed would increase relative to the power hitters. Of course, MLB would have to do with fewer homers overall and reducing the number of seats in many of the ballparks. But, it might solve the steroid problem without testing and without going through the union. Perhaps MLB should run the numbers on changing ballpark dimensions versus having an intrusive and ineffective testing system?

  6. Too little, to late. The ridiculous ban on pro-hormones goes into effect in a little over a month.

  7. Mike, have you ever attended any other newspaper get-togethers?

  8. “let the athletes do what they want”

    Shouldn’t H&R-ers get to do what they want ahead of athletes?
    Aren’t we more harmless?

  9. I’m with “Ruthless” on this one. An individual’s drug use should normally not be any business of the boss or anyone else, so long as he is sober at work and when driving or performing other tasks where being high might endanger other people.

    But sports organizations are quite right to restrict dangerous performance-enhancing drugs because if some athletes use them and get away with it, then using them effectively becomes a requirement, in the sense that you can’t expect to be able to make the team without using them, and the sport becomes a much more risky line of work, at least for those athletes who wouldn’t choose to use the drugs if the “requirement” weren’t there.

    So I’d like to see the sports leagues test ONLY for the dangerous drugs like steroids, while ignoring things like marijuana and cocaine. If the law doesn’t allow the leagues to make this distinction then the leagues should move out of the US until it does.

  10. Steriods are not dangerous if used responsibly. As is common with prohibition, driving something underground leads to products that are less safe. Also, proper education is usually suppressed under a state led propaganda blitz. Abuse leading to bad results is no execuse for prohibiting a product that can be used responsibly and safely.

    I would concede that the prohibition of steriods/pro-hormones for young adults (under 21) is just because at that age using these products is theoretically bad. At young ages is when the body is undergoing the most hormonal changes, and is producing the highest natural level of testosterone. Although I’m not aware of controlled studies that prove definitively the dangers, the theory seems sound. I suspect that the studies don’t exist because of moral issues of subjecting young adults and minors to a substance that you highly suspect would be damaging.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.