The issue of steroid as a substance of enhancing muscles for sportsmen and women has become a hot issue in sports arena. Majority of athletes are making personal admission that they have been using steroids for a long time in order to gain bodyweight, increase muscles, and realize increased body mass growth.
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Numerous prominent cases exist, which point to the fact that the issue of steroid abuse may be larger than anticipated and it needs redress by the key stakeholders. What baffles many is that, despite legal and regulatory mechanism being in place, cases of steroid abuse remain high. Also, the general observation is that the existing laws and regulations lack the necessary arsenic power to execute firm and meaningful punishment to the culprits.
Therefore, the thesis statement of this paper is that there is need for fair legal and punishment regimes to execute adequate and ‘scaring liker’ punishments in order to discourage these increased harmful activities. At the same time, the belief expressed in the paper is that sports organizations need to have more powers and the will to ensure the process of eliminating steroids use starts from within.
Steroid use among professional athletes and other players is believed to be rampant, although no official statistics are available to justify this due to secretive nature of victims and culprits. However, from the recent reports and happenings, there have been increasing allegations and numerous suspensions that have been executed on some athletes who have been believed to be on steroids use or whose blood and urine samples have confirmed positive (Anonymous, n.d).
According to information being given by former athletes, they estimate the number of professional athletes on steroids use to be between 20 to 50% (Anonymous, n.d). Many stakeholders and sports fans have been appalled and surprised by these massive staggering results and their conviction and assumptions is that steroid use has greatly compromised the integrity of various competitive sports (Anonymous, n.d).
Integrity is seen to be affected and violated especially when non-steroids sportsmen and women are put into perspective and the whole episode shows that use of steroids create unfairness in sporting activities and it is also against the principle of equal justice (Anonymous, n.d).
The issue of steroids is a growing and aggravating issue in society, use of steroids has even encroached young teenagers in high schools who are ostentatiously embracing use of steroids and the detriments in their health, and general social life is excellent. In the contemporary world, especially in the sport arena, use of steroid has been banned among sportsmen and sportswomen.
Primarily, use of steroids invites different forms of punishment for those who use or attempt to use it. Majority of athletes have been motivated to use steroids due to the fact that steroids have ability and capability to enhance athlete’s competitive edge in the playing field (Roberts, n.d). Nevertheless, it is the consequences of the punishment that, to some extent, has scared athletes from using it.
For example, steroid use, when detected in a professional athlete, invites a lifetime ban for the particular athlete involved, payment of fine in monetary terms and sometimes stigma from fellow athletes and fans at large (Roberts, n.d).
Steroid use in sports was for the second time detected among athletes during the 1954 World Weightlifting and the first case had been detected in 1952 during the Helsinki Olympics in 1952 (Roberts, n.d). However, it is the 1954 debut in Weightlifting that the consequences of use of steroid captured the news headlines of World Sports papers and forums.
As an account of what happened during the 1954 Weightlifting Championship, the back of steroid used involved the Soviets champions who without using a lot of effort dominated the weight classes.
As it would later be revealed by the team’s doctor, John Ziegler, after persistent and suspicious “questioned the soviet team’s doctor after the medals were given out, and the soviet doctor said that his team had been receiving testosterone injections” (Roberts, n.d). This particular revelation constituted the first revelation and rise of the first case in which the issue of steroid use among sportsmen and women arose.
The athletes later confirmed that their prevalent use of the steroid was motivated by the desire to enhance and improve their performance (Roberts, n.d).
At the same time, some unverified reports have indicated that testosterone preparations were used by the Germans Olympic team of 1936 during the Berlin Olympics and during the time, full rumors speculated that an athlete who had won an Olympic gold medal had been on usage of oral testosterone for some time (Roberts, n.d).
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Detection of the usage as that time was greatly hampered by lack of appropriate technology to detect testosterone among the athletes hence the usage is believed to have been higher.
Nevertheless, these were not the times when the use of steroid by sportsmen and women was rising up as an issue, since before these games, attempts by different players in different spots had tried to use anabolic performance enhancement steroids in an attempt to win in games.
For example, in ancient Greece, where the first Olympic Games took place, it was discovered that many “athletes ingested various herbs and foods with the hopes of improving their performance” (Roberts, n.d). For instance, the athlete who came out as the big winner in the 480 B. C.
Olympic Games reports confirmed that the athlete ate meat for about ten months before the games kicked off officially and as medical and health studies have confirmed, meat is high in B vitamins and Creatine both of which have capacity to enhance and improve performance (Roberts, n.d).
In Ziegler’s case, the Soviet’s team physician, the doctor with the help of the Ciba pharmaceutical Company developed a steroid by the name ‘Methandrostenolone’ or sometimes known as ‘Dianabol’ and as it would be evidenced in subsequent Olympic Games, Ziegler’s weightlifters dominated the Olympic Games which were held in America (Roberts, n.d). Also, from that time, “many different steroids, each with their own different set of characteristics, have been developed” (Roberts, n.d).
Statistics of steroid prevalence among athletes
There exist no formal statistics on the actual number of professional athletes in the United States who use or abuse steroids (Brogan and West, 2008). Revelation and sometimes quantification can only result from personal stories and narrations from professional players and another official in the professional body fraternity.
Nevertheless, when personal stories and accounts are undertaken, then combined with numerous evidence resulting from observed changes in the performance of professional athletes over time, one unproven and unavoidable fact remains true: majority of professional athletes use or are on use of steroids (Brogan and West, 2008).
Notably, the use of steroids has become prevalent in some of the famous sports, especially in the Major League Baseball (Brogan and West, 2008). For instance, many baseball players have personally admitted that they use steroids, while at the same time, have widely spoken about its prevalence among other professional players (Brogan and West, 2008).
Evidence that is more appalling is the fact that in the recent past, some of the long-standing baseball records have been broken with little effort by the participants or professional players (Brogan and West, 2008).
Today, evidence which exists postulate the level of steroids usage among professional players and this has been contributed by admission of professional players and also from record that has broken in the past that have raised eyebrows among critical stakeholders.
With no special statistics available, much about the level of steroid usage among athletes can be accounted using personal admissions and revelations. For example, Pitcher David is well known as ‘Boomer’ Wells in 2003 said, “Twenty-five to 40 percent of all Major Leaguers are juiced (on steroids)” (Brogan and West, 2008, p.68).
In another detailed produced written by Jose Canseco titled, ‘Juiced’ the author credits his entire career to steroid use and asserts that “as many as 85 percents of players use steroids” (Brogan and West, 2008, p.68). Further, third basemen Ken Caminiti revealed to Sports Illustrated in 2002 that he was a victim and was using steroids when he won the 1996 Most Valuable Player award (Brogan and West, 2008).
At the same time, Pitcher Tom House on interview with San Francisco Chronicle in 2005 revealed that steroid use among professional players was widespread specifically among baseball players when he started off his career in the late 1960s (Brogan and West, 2008).
As the public becomes more aware of steroid use in professional sports, pressure continues to pile up on the concerned athletes leading them to keep everything secret. Therefore, professional athletes on steroids are always in need of newer, harder-to-detect steroids that also are better performance enhancers (Brogan and West, 2008).
The harder-to-detect steroids make the drugs a pervasive problem and what is evident today is the scenario where it seems that everyone knows exactly what they are taking or how to test for it (Brogan and West, 2008).
The larger responsibility of rounding-up steroid cheaters falls to the organizations that oversee professional sports where the general observation is that almost all of these organizations have publicly banned performance enhancers, but few have been effective in actually stopping athletes from taking them (Brogan and West, 2008).
Other top players have admitted to be on steroid use especially given the suspiciously records they have set in the past. For example, some of the baseball longest-standing records such as that by Roger Maris of 61 home runs in a single season have been in great measure been shattered (Brogan and West, 2008).
Maris’s record was set in 1961 and remained untouched for almost 65 years and in 1998 at St. Louis Cardinals’ Mark McGuire hit 70 home runs while Sammy Sosa finished the season with 66 home runs (Brogan and West, 2008). However, interestingly, in 2001 Barry Bonds beat them both where the player hit 73 home runs that season while playing for the San Francisco Giants and by 2007 this record was still untouched (Brogan and West, 2008).
As a result of their ‘prowess’, these players have been under suspicion of using steroid and in 1998, McGuire admitted that he was using androstenedione, which is an over-the-counter supplement that turns into testosterone once it enters the body (Brogan and West, 2008).
Examples of professional sports where steroid use is high
Bodybuilding is one of the professional sports where use of steroid has been rampant. Observation made is that steroid use is pervasive in professional bodybuilding a situation that has convinced majority that it is impossible to compete in this professional without using steroids (Brogan and West, 2008).
Characteristic of bodybuilding is that it is a sport in which competitors pose before judges and they are rated for the aesthetic appearance of different muscle groups (Brogan and West, 2008). Arnold is a former movie actor and the current governor of California. The governor admitted to having used steroids from the 1960s to 1990s when use of steroids was still legal (Brogan and West, 2008).
In the view of the former champion, his usage of steroids was only to help him maintain his muscle mass but did not help him grow bigger (Brogan and West, 2008). Another sport where usage of steroid has become prominent is in the cycling sport. In this sport, evidence shows how cyclists have been legendary abusers of performance-enhancing drugs whereby the famous sport’s Tour de France has been plagued by tales of steroid use in the past.
For example, in 1998, steroid use on the Tour made cycling history where a coach from the French team, known as Festina, was stopped during the race carrying illegal steroids and other doping equipment carrying them in a van (Brogan and West, 2008).
In addition, when investigated further, a rider for the French confirmed that use of steroids was common among the cyclists. To make matters worse an official car for the team TVM, of Netherlands was upheld during the race carrying illegal steroids (Brogan and West, 2008).
Football has also become another sport where the use of steroids is rampant. For example, the National Football League (NFL) remain as the first sport to illegalize steroids wherein 1987, the NFL illegalized the drugs and started testing players for these particular drugs. Today the NFL policy is considered stricter and more effective than the systems of Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League (Brogan and West, 2008).
As a policy, NFL carries out random drug tests every year to ascertain the players if they are on use of steroids and in circumstances a player tests positive for steroid use, the particular player banned from the play. However, when such test after been carried out three times confirms positive, the specific player is banned from the sport for one year and by the year 2005, more than 100 NFL players had tested positive for steroids, but none has passed the second test as a positive victim.
Hockey, on the other hand, banned the use of steroids in 2006 after numerous cases arose of players using the steroids. Nevertheless, the issue of steroids usage in hockey is minimal since players are supposed to light and extra masses resulting from steroids can lead to increase in mass hence leading to more injuries.
Tennis is another sport that cases of steroids usage have been reported and subsequently the professional tennis has banned steroid use and on regular basis conduct drug tests for the players and as per now although fewer cases have been reported, no major confirmed case has implicated major players in this sport (Brogan and West, 2008).
Types of steroids
Listing of all types of steroids used in professional sports will be daunting task since the list is long and constantly changing every day (Brogan and West, 2008). Some of the notable and common steroids used by professional players include the following, Anadrol, this is kind of steroid that was developed in early 1960s generally as prescription medicine to treat osteoporosis and anemia (Brogan and West, 2008).
Today, Anadrol is known as one of the strongest and fast-acting steroids and often it has been used by professional players as bodybuilding steroid (Brogan and West, 2008). Another kind of steroid is the Dianabol, which is asteroid that was developed in 1958 by a physician taking part in the US Olympic Weightlifting Team.
This particular steroid has fewer androgenic effects but still builds muscle mass (Brogan and West, 2008). Another steroid is the Equipoise, which is kind of steroid developed as a treatment for racehorses and when used as a steroid, it has fewer effects in sports where it is seen to add muscle without many androgenic effects and usually is used by bodybuilders (Brogan and West, 2008).
Nandrolone, constitute another steroid that is produced naturally in the human body and is prescribed in synthetic form to treat osteoporosis and this particular asteroid is found in many nutritional supplements (Brogan and West, 2008). Tetrahydrogestrinone (THG) also known as ‘the clear’ was in early tests detection challenging to be noticed and at first, this steroid was manufactured by a company known as BALCO (Brogan and West, 2008).
It has to be noted that some steroids are legally allowed specifically those that have been found to treat particular diseases or ailments. The steroids accepted under the law as treatments are known as legal anabolic androgenic steroids where they can act as medicines when their muscle-building effects are used to rebuild damaged bone or tissue in the human body and these steroids pass as legal when they have been prescribed by a doctor (Brogan and West, 2008).
Nevertheless, it should not be forgotten that each country has its unique way of prescribing steroids that are legal or can be accepted for use by the general. For instance, in the USA legal steroids have been prescribed to have the ability to cure anemia, where the understanding is that since anemia results from lower blood cell count, as a muscle-building medicine steroid can help patients recover from severe surgeries and as testosterone replacement therapy for men with testicular cancer (Brogan and West, 2008).
On the other hand, in Britain, prescription of legal steroids is rare and this is contributed by the fact that British doctors allow prescription only for anemia. Other notable patients, the law allows to use asteroids may include those suffering from AIDS, where the virus attacks and weakens the body and in general, the bodies of AIDS victims cannot fight off illness.
As time goes by, these people grow weak and lose muscle mass and when such situation become worse medical prescription may be that such people need to use asteroids in order to help them gain weight, feel stronger and build muscles (Brogan and West, 2008). Also, anemia victims have been given legal acceptance to use steroids. For instance, anemia-affected body has low red blood cells hence less oxygen can be carried.
As the situation come out of control medical professional may prescribe to an individual to use anabolic-androgenic steroids where using steroid treatment is viewed as the best method since it helps stimulate the body to make more red blood cells to compensate for the loss (Brogan and West, 2008).
Other notable diseases that have invited steroid as an optional treatment include breast cancer whereby since 1940s, certain types of breast cancer have been treated with anabolic androgenic steroids. Burns, on the other hand, have received doctor recommendation to use certain and specific androgenic steroids to treat them.
Such asteroids include the oxandrolone, which in general are prescribed to treat severe burns and also help heal burn wounds and strengthen muscle mass (Brogan and West, 2008). Another surprising instances that steroids have been allowed include the treatment of delayed puberty. Normally, when changes that are supposed to take place during puberty fail, such changes may occur later in life when the individual has passed the age limit for the changes to take place.
As a result of numerous studies, conclusions have been made which support the fact that some forms of steroids can be used among boys to stimulate the body jump-start the change process of the puberty (Brogan and West, 2008).
Osteoporosis is another condition in which bones become less dense or fluffy and chances of breaking become higher. In many instances, such problem is associated with lack of calcium in an individual’s diet and poor hormone production in the body.
Side effects of steroids
As the rise of steroids usage is on rise among many professional players in different sports, it is clear that usage has negative side effects on prolonged usage. Some of the identified side effects include endocrine disturbances, especially among the adolescents; cardiac and liver problems; stunted growth; testicular atrophy; psychiatric disturbances; and violent expression of hostility in most cases termed as ‘roid rage’ by those who are chronic users (Lin and Erinoff, 1996).
Accordingly, adverse effects of steroids have been identified among male and female users and among male victims it results into hirsutism with acne and other signs of virilization along with negative lipoprotein profiles, endometrial hyperplasia in women and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and some are even likely to cause liver disorders (Lin and Erinoff, 1996).
Among women users of steroids, it has been found that they have experienced voice changes. In general, when steroids are misused they result into cardiomegaly and ultimate cardiac failure. Androgenic-induced hypertension may be due to a hypertensive shift in the pressure-natriuresis relation, either as a result of increase in proximal tubular re-absorption (Lin and Erinoff, 1996).
With regard to respiratory, it has been reported that victims on use of the steroids are for a long time experienced obstructive sleep apnea (Lin and Erinoff, 1996). With regard to nervous system, use of androgenic steroids is believed to results into production of sensation of energy and euphoria but at the same time increase chances of the individual experiencing sleeplessness and irritability.
More extreme use of steroids by victims has resulted into extreme swings in mood, ranging from depression to aggressive elation (Lin and Erinoff, 1996). Also, in some cases, people who have been in use of steroids to treat anemia have developed cerebral venous thrombosis sometimes accompanied by atentorial subdural hematoma (Lin and Erinoff, 1996).
Hiccups are other adverse side effects of steroids where studies have shown that persistent hiccups have been associated with oral and intravenous steroids (Lin and Erinoff, 1996).
Other adverse side effects of steroids are associated with psychological or psychiatric elements. With these particular aspects use of steroids in excess, it has been established that individuals on use of steroids generally experience and manifest aggressive behavior and mood changes to the extent of resulting into violent crimes (Lin and Erinoff, 1996).
At the same time, excess use of steroids has been associated with high circulating concentrations of testosterone to increased degrees of aggression and related changes in mood (Lin and Erinoff, 1996). Other psychological instruments that have been used to test the effects of steroids abuse have shown that excessive use of the steroids have resulted into negative side effects.
For example, using the Hamilton Depression Scale, steroids users have been found to show greater degree of depression, agitation, psychic or somatic anxiety, hypochondriasis, and hopelessness (Lin and Erinoff, 1996). On another scale known as Modified Manic State Rating Scale it was found that users of steroids were seen to be restlessness that is more talkative, threatening language, irritability, and sexual preoccupation (Lin and Erinoff, 1996).
Law concerning steroid use
The need for law to control steroids abuse can be well captured from the following excerpt where the then USA senator Joseph Biden, while occupying the position of chairperson of Committee on the Judiciary in the Senate, held a hearing on the anabolic steroid situation. The hearing included professional players, sports league officials, professional and amateur coaches and trainers, and while initiating the work of the Commission, Biden noted that,
“The use of steroids in sports is troubling for a number of reasons; first, steroids abuse threatens the mental and physical welfare of thousands of our fittest, healthiest and brightest young people; second, as experts have told us, and we will hear today and in future hearings, that steroid could be another gateway drug.
If young people accept the idea that using steroids to build their body is okay, they may be all the more likely to try other drugs to alter their minds, as well as their bodies; and, third, using drugs to improve athletic performance undermines our most basic notions of honesty, discipline and hard work as a means for achieving……………………….and finally, the words and deeds of athletes are critical because they are role models for all people, not just athletes and young people” (Taylor, 2002, p.124).
Steroids abuse has been controlled legally using the Anabolic Steroids Control Act of 1990 (Anabolic Steroid Abuse, n.d). According to this Act, steroids misuse were placed in the same class with narcotic painkillers by being defined and perceived under Schedule III of substances (Anabolic Steroid Abuse, n.d).
The law states that those found to be abusing steroids substances are liable to a maximum prison of one year and a fine of up to $1000 (Anabolic Steroid Abuse, n.d). Further the Act states that being in possession or facilitating the sale of steroids or even just being perceived to have intent of selling the substances, the Act postulate that the culprits are liable to about five years in prison and in addition they are required to undergo parole and also heavy fine may be executed (Anabolic Steroid Abuse, n.d).
A part from the federal laws each state has devised its own laws that government prevention of use of steroids and it is always wise for any professional player to know how each country defines and punish use of steroids. Also, it has become clear that every state differs from each other on the inclusion and interpretation of laws in the Substance schedules (Anabolic Steroid Abuse, n.d).
Law has particularly become important in regulating the use of steroids and has helped reduce cases of steroid abuse as more mechanisms have been put in place to curb its transmission and usage. At the same time, the law has put responsibility on professional players’ coaches, trainers, and managers to ensure that they disseminate health information and knowledge to their players.
Another law that has effectively been put into use is the Anti-Abuse Act of 1998, which came about because of growing concern over the adverse physical effects of anabolic steroids (Taylor, 2002). The federal was motivated by the fact that majority of professional players and even those in high schools were in abuse of steroids and therefore there was need for enactment and adoption of legislation that would help in reducing the abuse of these drugs.
Development of this law was spurred by earlier loopholes in the enacted law, which had a general prescription for anabolic steroids, and in this way, manufacturers were not required to submit production data to the FDA.
This was likely since the pharmaceutical companies had that ability to manufacture huge amounts of anabolic steroids and divert them without the knowledge of FDA (Taylor, 2002). At the same time, it was difficult for the FDA to determine the number of anabolic steroids that were to be used for medical purposes (Taylor, 2002).
Are the current punishments for steroid use in sports fair?
Controversy exists as to whether the current laws on steroid use execute maximum and fair punishment for the culprits and associates. For instance, in article titled ‘Steroid use in Professional Sports: Punishment too little’ written by Bradley Sinko, of Miami University. The article accounts how historical cases of steroid use have been dealt with lightly within legal and regulatory bodies.
The article starts by mentioning some of the prominent figures that have captured international headlines for admitting of using steroids and how the law has relaxed in punishing them (Sinko, 2007). At the same time, the article argues that use of steroids by the athletes and professional players is motivated by a desire to win and have a competitive advantage over the rest in any game or sport competition (Sinko, 2007).
Using steroids, the professional players and athletes become unnaturally stronger and more muscular and although the drug has less potency with regard to enriching an athlete’s skills and agility, the drug is regarded as a shortcut to gaining and growth of muscles (Sinko, 2007).
In most competitive and popular sports, use of steroids has been banned with aim of ensuring the safety and health wellness of the player while at the same time ensuring that there is a fair competitive advantage to all participating players in a particular sport (Sinko, 2007).
The central argument of this article is that there is no fair punishment as far as steroid abuse continues to take place and what constitutes fine is actually a minor thing as compared to the effects of the substance in the field of sports.
For instance, the article postulate that when majority of athletes are found or discovered to be on steroid use in order to enhance their muscle power the penalty that is executed is generally lighter (Sinko, 2007).
Further, in most sports bodies, the enacted punishment and penalty framework are weak and does not address the issue of stopping or discouraging steroid use more appropriately (Sinko, 2007). For example, in NFL, the most severe punishment a player gets as a result of being found to be on steroid use is mere suspension for our games (Sinko, 2007).
Seen and evaluated from the effect it has caused in the sport body this kind of punishment is too little and in any way cannot concretely address the issue of steroid use among athletes. Further, paralleling NFL is other sports bodies, which have been found to have inferior or almost dysfunctional punishment regimes for steroid use culprits; for example, there exist no appropriate blood tests to monitor steroid use among the players (Sinko, 2007).
These particular incidences and flaws in the punishment regimes and the law at large has not in real sense impacted any form of fear among the players and majority of them are not scared at all to use the substance for they are aware that they can just evade the law more successful and with little pain upon them (Sinko, 2007).
The assertion of this article rests on the belief that steroid use in sport should be discouraged at all levels and strict laws and punishments regimes need to be enacted in order to discourage the vice among sports athletes (Sinko, 2007).
The lighter punishment in any way does not deter the players from abusing the substance and when such light punishment are in place, the players are convinced it is rewarding to take the risk of using the substances while others are convinced that using steroids substances is wrong but not that bad (Sinko, 2007).
At the same time, steroid use by some athletes violates the social justice principle since to the athletes who are in obedience with the law and requirement it becomes unfair for them to compete in the same category and measure with steroids stimulated individuals (Sinko, 2007). Further, this substance has numerous adverse outcomes to the user in terms of health, psychology, and physical.
It leads to detrimental of individuals’ health state and their lives may change for negative, hence heavy punishment will send the message across board that use of steroid is dangerous and outlawed in sports at all costs.
Therefore, it can be observed and suggested that the current punishment measures and forms are not fair for they do not bring the necessary justice to the victims concerned; hence, there is need for more structural changes to ensure that more strict punishments are put in place and penalty regimes are tightened.
Should the restrictions and punishments be more consistent across sports?
The debate on whether restrictions and punishment on steroids need to be more consistent across all sports has constantly dominating news and both sports and health forums for some time now. What needs to be investigated first is whether all sports represent similar characteristics in their nature and content of the sports themselves.
For example, take the case of wrestling which for decades has evolved to become one of the highly-rated TV shows across the world. Steroid use in this sport is almost evident even to young children who are yet to conceptualize the issue of steroids.
The manifestation is evident from huge muscle growth and development of the wrestling competitors and it seems to many that without the use of steroids then it would be difficult for wrestlers to ‘effectively’ compete in this game. The point being driven here is that there are some sports which can be categorized as ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ with regard to steroid use.
Hardsports can be considered those in which steroids in necessary to stimulate body and to ensure players compete well. On the other hand, soft sports are whereby the player’s natural skills are the needed to effectively participate in the game. Using steroids in soft sports therefore become an issue that warrants investigation.
Therefore, when devising and formulating law and punishment framework, there is need for stakeholders to carry out a thorough assessment of all sports in which use of steroids is possible, measure the level of steroid use in each sport from the participant and evaluate the likely impact of such steroid use in the particular sport.
After this, there is need to seek professional and doctors’ view, suggestions as to how best each sport can be regulated on a minimum and maximum use of steroids, and how should law apply in each individual sport given the dynamics in the sport.
How should sports organizations act to prevent steroid abuse?
The role of sports organizations in preventing steroid abuse cannot be underestimated or ignored. First, these sports organizations are the primary avenues where there is much closer interaction and association between players and officials and any meaningful change can occur if pursued and implemented by the sports organizations.
Many sports organizations have been viewed to possess the capacity and ability to promote and enhance athletes’ education on the dangers of steroids abuse (Meyer, Hill, Daprano and Titlebaum, 2010). Majority of sports organizations have come out and expressed the fact that although athletes are faced with multiple challenges and pressure from individual, cultural, societal and physiological aspects to use or abuse steroids.
What sports organizations do is to educate the athletes that using the steroids has adverse side effects that will largely affect the athlete’s life and social life in general and therefore it is prudent to avoid using the drugs (Meyer, Hill, Daprano and Titlebaum, 2010).
Further, many sports organizations have heightened their activities of ensuring sports are free from steroid usage and that athletes should be advised on the importance of participating in sports free from steroid enhancers. For example, to achieve these objectives many sports organizations have instituted in place limited drug testing programs for athletes to go through before taking part in any game (Meyer, Hill, Daprano and Titlebaum, 2010).
As a mandatory these sports organizations carry out occasional and sometimes frequent testing of players backed up by specific drug education programs that after testing the players should be initiated in education programs to increase their awareness of the consequences both legal and health of abusing steroids (Meyer, Hill, Daprano and Titlebaum, 2010).
The broader role and purpose of sports organization with regard to steroids use by athletes’ can be captured in the roles and functions of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). This is an international organization and it was established in 1999 with major aim being to “promote coordinates and monitor the fight against doping in sport of all forms” (WADA, 2010 cited in Meyer, Hill, Daprano and Titlebaum, 2010, p.1).
The organizations receives much financial and other related resource support from IOC where it has been defined to exist in order to “protect the athletes’ fundamental rights to participate in doping-free sport and thus promote health, fairness and equality for athletes all over the world” (WADA, 2020 cited in Meyer, Hill, Daprano and Titlebaum, 2010, p.1). Further, WADA through support from related organization has taken upon itself the responsibility to eliminate steroids use in sports.
As guiding theme of the organization states, “WADA is committed to eliminating all doping in sport and moreover, it is committed to creating a level playing field for all sportsmen and sportswomen worldwide and that there will be zero tolerance for those who cheat” (WADA Strategic Plan, 2007 cited in Meyer, Hill, Daprano and Titlebaum, 2010, p.1).
The modern sports environment has greatly changed, especially when compared with the former environment. Today, there is great pressure on all athletes from multiple stakeholders to realize sterling performance and as a way of giving ion to these demands majority of athletes are resorting to steroids use with aim of enhancing the capacity of their muscles and subsequently having an edge over others in sports or competition.
As a result, the issue of steroid use in society today has increased and skyrocketed to a level that has shaken key stakeholders and fans of various sports in which competition takes place. For instance, the level of steroids use is estimated to be between 20 to 50 percent, these records largely have emanated from personal revelations, and admission by professional athletes who note that prevalence of steroids in sports currently is more than what majority think.
Such revelations are surprising and to extent disgusting given the harm and impact they cause to sport arena, to health of athletes and to the general; society. The negative impacts of steroids outdo the positive impact and generally, steroid use has viewed negatively by majority of stakeholders.
Numerous attempts have been made by different stakeholders to prevent the increase or spread of these vices among players. Such efforts have gone a long way even to be institutionalized in legal structures where today it has been illegalized to use steroids and those found are either jailed for a specific period of time depending on the state, or pay fine, or given appropriate penalty and punishment with aim to discourage the continue use of the substance.
Nevertheless, these laws have shown to have loopholes, while punishment and penalties they prescribe and execute are regarded to be light with nature. Thus, there is no way they can discourage professional players from abusing steroids.
Observation is that the existing legal mechanism is totally unfair in terms of legal punishment since instead of discouraging steroid use it is motivating many players to risk using it since one can be able to evade legal punishment more easily.
As a result of these, it is recommended that there should be concerted effort by both stakeholders in the field of sports to bring about meaningful changes and make laws tighter for those professional athletes who may violate them.
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