Is it time to allow drugs in sports?

Drugs in sports is nothing new. Athletes such as Tyson Gay, Marion Jones and Lance Armstrong immediately spring to mind when one thinks of drug cheats. Most would condemn these athletes and argue that they have been punished correctly, as athletes should not be allowed to gain an unfair advantage over their rivals by taking drugs. But is it time for doping authorities to just give up the fight? Is it time to just accept the inevitable fact that athletes will cheat? Should we simply remove drug rules in sports and allow athletes to take whatever they want?

According to a Raymmar Tirado’s article “Is It Time to Say Yes to Steroids in Professional Sports?” in the Huffington Post on Nov. 5, it is time to embrace drugs in sports. Tirado rejects the notion that athletes should simply ignore technology that could help them considerably improve their performance.

“If your goal is to be the strongest, fastest, most home run-hitting dude in the world, then why wouldn’t you find every tool known to man to make that a reality?” Tirado said. He supports the “win-at-all-costs” sporting world that society has created and believes that athletes should embrace this culture head on. Tirado even attacks those who disagree with his claim.

“How hypocritical of all of us,” Tirado said. “Which among you is not looking for an advantage to do better in this game called life right now? We have become a society of cheaters, and as much as we want to pretend that we’re all goody two-shoes and living a perfect life, we are all guilty of looking for shortcuts at one point or another. We actually glorify it in business, politics and education, but god forbid we see it in sports.”

To conclude his argument, Tirado makes the claim that drugs would enhance the sports that we already know and love, allowing athletes to reach new heights and entertain us on an even greater level.

“So I say go ahead, show me your surgically modified, genetically altered, steroid injected, best version of yourself,” Tirado said.

Personally, I feel as though Tirado ignores several key outcomes that may occur if we allow drugs in sports. Firstly, he fails to acknowledge the inherent dangers associated with performance-enhancing drugs in athletes. Many drugs pose serious health risks and by legalizing them in sports, we would be encouraging athletes to take these drugs and put their own personal health in danger. Professional athletes push themselves to the limit in order to be the best they can be. It would be tragic to see athletes push themselves too far because of permitted drug use.

Secondly, it is important to consider what message allowing drug use for athletes would send to children. Is it really right to promote a win-at-all-costs mentality in young athletes? Additionally, at what age would we draw the line for drug use? The risk to society would be immense.

Finally, it would be a shame to see sports turned into an industry where the team with the best Sports Science department was the most successful. Do we really want sports to be fought out in labs? I believe that allowing drugs in sports would take away an essence of competition that would be lost forever.

Allowing drugs in sports would be a huge decision, and although it seems unlikely now, eventually it may become a plausible option. Let’s hope it doesn’t happen anytime soon.

nolans@stolaf.edu

Graphic Credit: ETHAN BOOTE/MANITOU MESSENGER

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