Research Paper on Steroid Use Legalization in Professional Sports

Paper Type:  Research paper
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1865 Words
Date:  2022-05-12


Throughput civilizations, sports have played a social role in bringing communities together, fostering appreciation to diversity and opening up the host areas to the world. Nonetheless, the status of sport in societies has dramatically changed from one with a social focus to commercialization throughout making it a profession. Today, athletes, footballers, and cyclists among other sports people are considered not only professionals but also win medals, monetary compensation, and sponsorships based on their performances in different categories. This commercialization of sport did not come without controversies surrounding how to attain the highest desired performance by professional sportspeople.

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The use of substances that enhance performance which is also referred to as doping is a common controversial subject that is highly attributable to the commercialization of sport. Apart from the regular training and despite existing punitive anti-doping policies, participants in sports have used the drugs despite the implications of their acts. This scenario thus justifies the discourse on whether performance-enhancing drugs should be allowed in sports or not. The mechanisms to eradicate doping have proven insufficient in deterring it while at the same time the primary objective of anti-doping which is to create a level ground for competitive sports seems unachievable hence the need to legalize the use of steroids.

History of the Use of Performance Enhancing Drugs/Steroids

Existing records show that the use of steroids and other types of performance-enhancing drugs in sports started as early as the games of the 3rd Olympiad. During the third Olympiad, Thomas Hicks triumphed the marathon after having had an injection of strychnine during the race. Despite the fact that the drug was injected in the middle of the race, it aided the athlete to excel (Wiesing 168). Based on the perceived interference of such substances on fair competition, the International Amateur Athletic Federation introduced the first ban on their use in 1928. Ideally using drugs in sport is not a new development but in the recent decades, it has not only gained performance but also attracted a lot of criticism from those whose primary argument is that they result in unfair competition.

The East German swimming team won eleven out of the thirteen Olympic events held in 1976, but it later turned out that they were dosed with anabolic steroids by the government which they sued. Despite the health concern about the use of steroids in the sport as well as the establishment of regulating authorities and policies, the use of the banned substances continues to rise. In fact, today, it has become commonplace for athletes to fail a dope test since they have progressively believed that those who use such performance-enhancing drugs display sterling performance in competitions hence acting as an impetus for prospective users.

Should Steroid Use Be Allowed in Professional Sports?

Critics of the use of steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs (PED) contend that they should be banned just because they give those who use them an unfair advantage over the rest in a competition (Wiesing 169. In essence, according to the proponents of outlawing PED, their primary concern is not about the potential or actual health effects attributable to the steroids but rather the fact that they hinder the establishment of level ground for competition. This perspective has led to the formation of policies that require adequate pre-competition testing for all participants and ultimate punishment of those who fail such examination (Savulescu, Bennett, and Megan Clayton 668). It may be a noble effort in attempting to create a fair level of competition, but the net effect is that more and more athletes, cyclists, face relegation for doping which means few of them will be participating in the implementation of such laws become stringent. The issue of drug use in sport is intricate, and sometimes officials in the anti-doping agencies are accused of conspiring with the participants to pass the tests which make it even more controversial.

Opponents of the call to the legalization of steroids may posit that doping has various health risks on the users; that they may undermine their long-term performance on the track and in the field. Nonetheless, it beats logic that every single day when the athletes undergo training or participate in an event, they expose themselves to even more severe health risks. For instance, a cyclist riding within a full track may easily slide and fall. A typical example is when a media car ran a competitor out of the road during the Tour de France. Smith (2012) provides that various famous athletes, cyclists, and footballers have had permanent injuries, not from the use of drugs but active participation in a sporting event. Some have in fact ended their career in the sport just because of the injuries sustained. In fact, the long-term effects of concussions continue to be even more apparent. Logically, if the steroids could be legalized, then it would be easier to monitor and regulate their distribution to prevent the users from taking untested and risky strains of the drugs which may ultimately render them malfunctioned and thus end their career prematurely.

According to the World Anti-Doping Agency, the use of doping drugs violates the spirit of sports. To them, as long as a drug enhances the performance of a competitor, a health risk or violates the spirit of sports, then it is illegal. The agency defines the spirit of competition as that which leads to the celebration of the human soul, mind, and body. It asserts that the "sporting spirit is supported by various values including fair play, ethics, and excellence in performance among others" (Savulescu, Bennett, and Megan Clayton 667). While these provisions are logical, it beats logic to contend that the use of steroids is in sport coincides with the need to achieve excellence in performance. Furthermore, literature about the prohibition of doping drugs provides anecdotal evidence that the objectives of prohibiting them have not been based on any objective evidence.

Critics of the legalization of steroids and other doping drugs argue that even if such a process lead to better management of their use, such a process will not yield better health results. The underpinning for this argument is that the side effects of steroids as provided by the United States National Center for Biotechnology Information are not exclusive to their improper use. According to Ashby (2010), even if steroids are legalized, their management would be a problem due to the value attached to them by the athletes. In fact, Ashby (2010) argues that the desire to win a competition will always override the need to use legalized steroids properly. It implies that most athletes will resort to using the drugs without proper medical supervision thus resulting in adverse health effects with the probability of reducing their lifeline in sports. Ideally, anti-steroid use crusaders would contend that non-prohibition of steroid use in the professional sport would encourage people who did not use them initially to start indulging in them. Nonetheless, when they use the steroids but still fail to win the competition, they are more likely to increase the dosage as a way of improving their chances of winning the next game. Despite the fact that this notion provides a broader view of the challenges associated with steroid use, it is self-defeating since the same trend continues even without the legalization of steroids. The law of diminishing marginal utility holds that one ceases to crave for an extra unit of something, especially if its accessibility is guaranteed. Therefore, legalizing steroids may portend increased health complications only to a small population while the majority will ensure supervised medical use.

Legalization of steroids would help to achieve the creativity that distinguishes human sport from the animal sport. Therefore, it is reasonable that using steroids will not undermine the spirit of the sport but instead appeal to the human spirit, which is the capacity to improve the self as premised on sound reason and judgment (Wiesing 172). In essence, challenging the legalization of steroids in sports is akin to embracing the traditional ideology which framed sport as being merely a test of natural potential like in the case of a horse race. Without legalization of steroids, "the game of the 'tortoise and the hare' between doping athletes and inspectors would remain because prohibited but not identifiable practices could still provide additional benefits from the use of permissible drugs" (Wiesing 172). While training is critical in any competition, humans have the power and ability to choose which method to use and how to achieve excellence in their performance. Human participants cannot be flogged b a jockey. Therefore, they actively decide the diet, training and whether to use drugs to achieve competitiveness in sport (Savulescu, Bennett, and Megan Clayton 667). They reserve the ability to actively decide what type of competitor to be not only through regular training but also through manipulation of their biological processes. Therefore, it will help in training sport from being a genetic lottery to a creative profession that allows humans to use their autonomy in deciding how to be effective. When steroids are allowed in sports, the overall winner in any competition will be that who has the incredible combination genetic ability, proper training, sound psychology and best judgment (Waddington 123). In effect, the performance in Olympics will be a matter of human creativity and choice, instead of sheer obsession with mundane natural abilities.

Scientific evidence proves that technological improvement will make some of the PED that will not be detected hence failure to achieve the primary aim of anti-doping. For instance, a drug such as erythropoietin (EPO) and growth hormones that are introduced into the body of the participants are natural chemicals. EPO increases the manufactures of the red blood cells thus increasing the amount of oxygen contained in the body hence ability to sustain intense sporting activity. As a natural chemical, it will be increasingly difficult to detect. Therefore, it is reasonable that even with the illegalization of steroids, doping will continue to transform in ways that will prove impossible to control (Savulescu, Bennett, and Megan Clayton 669). Conceivably, in a situation where doping drugs will prove difficult to detect then all athletes are likely to dope. In essence, if all the avenues that lead to unfairness in sports competition such as injection with EPO will prove uncontrollable, then the central premise for banning steroids will be null.

Legalization of anabolic steroids use in professional sport will not only contribute to a sudden leveling of the competition for all players but will also enable them to attain the highest thrilling level of performance. One role of sport is to entertain the fans and show incredible ability of humans in displaying their skills in sports. According to Henning & Dimeo (2014), "athletes involved have deliberately cheated, gained some performance-enhancement benefit from the substances involved." Conceivably, when an individual decides to draw entertainment from spots, the best experience is when he or she witnesses the peak of human sporting ability. While most athletes are talented in various areas, they also improve their skills through regular training. Nonetheless, the steroids play a central role in helping the competitors attain the highest expression of both their natural skills in sports as well as the resilience attained through training. At the end of any competitive sports, record breakers ar...

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