Performance enhancing drugs

Roger “The Rocket” Clemens is known to be one of the best of all-time to step on the rubber in the game of Major League Baseball. The Seven-time Cy Young winner was ultimately unstoppable in the last half of his career. He was just another great phenom in the baseball world until December 13, 2007 when the “Mitchell Report” was released, revealing a 409-page report that was sent to the commissioner of baseball (Bud Selig) that investigated the illegal use of steroids and Performance Enhancing Drugs used by players in Major League Baseball. There were over 80 players put on this report, but the one who stood out the most was Roger Clemens himself. On February 13th 2008 he went to Capitol Hill to argue the allegations against him saying,

“I appreciate the opportunity to tell this Committee and the public-under oath-what I have been saying all along: I have never used steroids, human growth hormone [HGH], or any other type of illegal performance enhancing drugs. I think these types of drugs should play no role in athletics at any level, and I fully support Senator Mitchell’s conclusions that Steroids have no place in baseball. However, I take great issue with the report’s allegation that I used these substances. Let me be clear again: I did not.”

Once Clemens had stated that it put a rather large target on his back not only by investigators but also the judicial system. They were trying to get him to admit using illegal steroids, but now as well they were going after him on counts of perjury. After 2 years of gathering enough evidence and testimonies on August 19, 2010 a Federal Grand Jury Indicted Roger Clemens on six counts, one count of obstruction of congress, three counts of false statements, and two counts of perjury. On July 13, 2011 Clemens’ first trial began, but on the second day the judge ruled a mistrial due to prosecutorial misconduct. For now Roger Clemens is a free man, but legal sources say that he will be retried.

I will be using the “Mitchell Report” and the Roger Clemens trial to portray that not only is the use of steroids extremely risky and unhealthy but also that it’s against the law and you will get caught one way or another. 1991 to 2002 was known as the “Steroid Era” in professional baseball. Over those years particularly in 1995 after the cancellation of the 1994 playoffs and World Series the statistics of a majority of the players skyrocketed, which in retrospect played a huge role in filling the empty seats back up after the 1994 strike. I’ll be explaining that up until to this point in time the MLB did not have strict regulations on testing for the use of Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs)

Kuenster, John. “Major League Player Records Dishonored by Steroid Users.” Baseball Digest. 62.2 (March 2008): SPORTDiscus. Web. 8 November 2011. John Kuenster touches on a very valuable subject when it comes to records, and honors given in the MLB. Back in early in mid 1900’s the greats of the game like, Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Hank Aaron, Joe DiMaggio, Bob Feller, and Ernie Banks. They all set legitimate records that should never be shadowed by the players who eventually broke them. These few players all had something in common. That was hard work and love for the game. They didn’t use PEDs to up there stats or to get to a higher number in a certain category.

These historic greats earned their records off pure talent that was god given and worked hard to mature. The greats of our time such as, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Alex Rodriguez, or Mark McGwire also hold records like men mentioned earlier. The only difference between the past greats and the current greats is that these new all-stars were accused of using Steroids to achieve their records. Not only are the players the ones to blame for the whole “Steroid Era.” Stricter steps should have been taken from the get go through the league to enforce steroid testing to ensure the safety and fair play in professional play of baseball before the use of steroids spread like wildfire through the MLB. Will records and awards be stripped from players who’ve been tested positive for performing enhancing drugs? We don’t know for now, but who knows what the future holds.

This article about dishonoring the awards given to players who have achieved them unfairly will allow me to voice my opinion on the topic of record breakers involving steroids. I personally am against the use of steroids solely because all it does it degrade the great game of baseball. Even though these cheaters didn’t use PEDs their whole career and achieved some of their record off pure talent doesn’t change the fact they broke the rules that is stated in the contract that’s signed by every professional player. It’s not fair that history’s greatest baseball players prior to the steroid era should be passed up in the record books by players that made themselves better by an illegal drug. Not only is it a disgrace to the violators name, but more importantly it’s a disgrace to the game of baseball.

Rutecki, Jared. “A Study of Media Impact on Public Opinion Regarding Performance Enhancement in Major League Baseball.” Open Sports Sciences Journal 3 (2010): SPORTSDiscus. Web. 8 November 2011. A chart in the article, A study of Media Impact on Public Opinion Regarding Performance Enhancement in Major League Baseball shows the percent of the coverage on specific sports and PEDs through 1968 to 2006 in Sports Illustrated, Newsweek, and Time. Baseball ranks number one in all 3 magazines with 43 percent, 39 percent, and 39 percent. Coming in second was football with a significant lower percent of 19, 14, and 15. Over the year’s magazine articles about PEDs have increased by a huge amount due to the popularity in steroid use among professional athletes.

With the widespread use of steroids in sports particularly baseball, it’s apparent that the talk of it in magazines and media in general has shot up too. When something isn’t a public issue the media obviously isn’t interested in it which is why steroids in the earlier years weren’t written and talked about much. When the “Steroid Era” came into play that’s when the number of articles in magazines skyrocketed year by year and it all of sudden became a huge topic in our society. I will also be touching on the fact that even when people knew that steroids were an issue media didn’t start writing about it like crazy until the 104 MLB players tested positive for PEDs in 2003. From that year on the number of articles per year were above 49. The media writes what sells and in this day and age information and insider news about the world of baseball and steroids will always sell.

Solberg, Joe. “Performance-Enhancing Drug Use in Baseball: The Impact of Culture.” Ethics and Behavior 21 (April 2011): 91-102. Philosopher’s Index. Web. 8 November 2011. Joe Solberg explains that once the steroid era of baseball blew up and became steady that it wasn’t out of the norm anymore, it became part of the culture. Once everyone was doing it the person below them had to use PEDs in order to get to the next level. The use of Steroids is a ladder that started in the pro’s and worked its way down to the minors. Major League Contracts are more than less based off offensive performance rather than defensive performance.

To be more specific on offensive performance homeruns are what really can land you a big money contract. Over the years the biggest category that PEDs have helped is homeruns. Of course players want a lot of money, and in order to get that money is to hit homeruns, and in order to increase the amount of homeruns is to take performance enhancing drugs. Players will do what they have to do in order to make the money that they are satisfied with, and as a result for most players it is to partake in using steroids to increase their status as an all-star.

The information I gathered in this article will help me explain the player’s motives for wanting to use PEDs. It’s not only used just to break records and be known as an all-star even though that is a plus that comes with it, but it’s the fact that if the person above you is using these substances then in order for you to excel above him and potentially take his spot you almost feel obligated to take PEDs as well. It was once a bad thing to be associated with the group known to take steroids back when it was a rare thing to do. Now days it’s such a common thing to partake in its part of the culture, it’s fairly normal in the MLB now to use PEDs.

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