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The steroid Culture
Major League Baseball is the epitome of professional baseball in the United States of America. It has a wide acceptance in all the states and is one of the most profitable sporting industries in America. Millions of people each year throng stadiums to cheer and support their favorite players and teams.
In MLB, physique matters and as such players are under intense pressure to be fit and to deliver results both to the club and to their loyal fans. Baseball players unlike football players do not cover their face during the game hence they are more in touch with their fans when compared to football where the players cover their faces.
In recent times, there have been reports of widespread use of performance enhancing drugs such as steroids and the human growth hormones in MLB. Players have been known to improve their performance drastically after taking these drugs and this has become a common occurrence and is widely acceptable both in the league and with the large fan base that do not care what the player does so long as the end justifies the means (Munson, Llosa, and Dohrmann 22).
Clubs and fans alike want to see their players become the MVPs as this brings in more money. Because of this pressure from the society, the players in the league are obliged to look for other ways to improve the performance resulting in resorting to use of performance enhancing drugs especially steroids (Yesalis 11).
This clearly shows a trend of gradual yet steady acceptance of steroid use by the society. The lack of condemnation of the practice is evidence that the society has accepted the use of steroids to be part of baseball, a fact that eventually erodes the essence and beauty of the game itself (Munson, Llosa, and Dohrmann 34).
There have been numerous allegations of players testing positive for steroids in their urine samples but no disciplinary measures whatsoever are taken. This has been of concern to many stakeholders since other professional leagues such as the NFL, instituted disciplinary measures to deal with issues of drug use among players. The MLB is perceived to have a soft stand when it comes to steroid use, with many players testing positive every now and then but no disciplinary actions being taken against the involved parties.
Use of steroids in the MLB is so common such that it has become widely acceptable with players feeling no shame in talking about it openly. Some players such as Ken Caminiti, have publicly talked about the use of steroids in the MLB. Caminiti attributes his success in the MLB to the use of steroids and he says he is not ashamed of it. With such remarks, one is led to conclude that steroid use in the MLB is a widely accepted phenomenon.
Caminiti won the 2006 Most Valued Player award despite the MLB having information on his use of steroids and taking no disciplinary action. In recent times, other players have come out and publicly boasted about using steroids to enhance their performance. Furthermore, managers of some clubs encourage their players to use steroids in order to achieve more results and improve their performance (Munson, Llosa, and Dohrmann 23).
Adverse effects of Steroids
Steroids especially anabolic ones increase the lean body mass by increasing the amount of testosterone in the body without an appreciable increase or change in activity or diet. They do this by promoting protein synthesis. These steroids result in adverse effects that may be life threatening. Side effects associated with steroid use include, dependence, which is either physiological or psychological, increased blood pressure which may result in hypertension, and cancer.
Research has shown that the adverse effects use steroid use result in various conditions such as heart and liver damage, obstinate imbalances in the endocrine-system, high levels of cholesterol, which may result in stroke, violent behavior, and the reproductive organ dysfunction (Munson, Llosa, and Dohrmann 30). It has been postulated that steroid use is a major contributor to the recent increase in baseball injuries, particularly stark injuries such as total muscle tears that prematurely end the careers of many players.
They have been cases in the MLB where some players known to be using steroids constantly incurring muscle related injuries and distortion of their physical appearance due to un-proportional body expansion. Caminiti admits these effects, “For the next six or seven days I couldn’t lift my arm,” he says. “I played for a month and a half in pure pain.” The MLB needs to do more to address the issue of steroid use before it gets out of hand since in the long term the risks outweigh the “benefits”.
With the current trend, one is led to accept the fact that steroid use has gained acceptance across all spheres of the society from the players to the fans of the sport. One would argue that such behavior shows a general decline in morality of the society as it allows once shunned practices to flourish. Since morality is hard to measure, a general trend in a particular practice acts as an indicator of the moral position of any society (Yesalis 10).
Personally, I feel that the society is relaxing its stance on the use of steroids and as such, it is slowly becoming morally eroded when it comes to the use of steroids in MLB. Starting from the players to their loyal fans, steroid use has gained acceptance and is no longer seen as an immoral thing to do.
This clearly shows a decline in the moral standing of the society in general. The society has come to accept steroids as any other performance-enhancing molecule that is no longer viewed as a threat to the sport when in reality it is a threat. Basing on the acceptance of this culture, one is led to the conclusion that moral standards of the society have fallen below the required levels.
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Munson, Lester, Llosa, Fernando, Dohrmann, George. Totally Juiced. Sports Illustrated Journal, 96.23 (1995): 11-34.
Yesalis, Charles. Anabolic steroids in sport and exercise. Champaign: Human Kinetics, 2000.