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Steroids in Sports1
Steroids in Sports
Steroids in Sports
Northern Illinois University
Steroids in Sports2
Steroids are performing enhancing drugs that are used by many athletes. They are illegal
for many reasons. Steroids have a negative effect on the human body. They affect both men and
women. They basically change a male to a female and a female to a male. Some negative effects
on men are baldness and shrunken testicles. Some women negative effects are increased appetite
and more hair. There are both short and long term negative effects on the human body. Those
that argue for steroids say that steroids bring money and fans to the game. They say that with
increased performance by steroids use, it brings fans to the game which increases ticket sales.
Increased ticket sale means more money to the sport. Increased ticket sale would mean bigger
contracts for the athletes. Another argument against steroid use is that it affects the culture of the
sport. Athletes form the past worked hard for their records and now the records are being broken
by steroid users. The integrity of the sport is ruined by the steroids.
Steroids in Sports3
Steroids are everywhere, in all sports. Many famous athletes have been caught with the
use of it. I love to watch sports therefore I have witness many famous athletes I watched getting
caught up with steroids. Steroids don’t only impact the person that uses the steroids. Steroids
also impact the fans watching the game. For example many young children watched Barry
Bonds growing up and breaking the home-run record. They wanted to be just like him, and then
we here how Barry used steroids. His record and everything he did now is tarnished and the
children that first admired him look at him differently now. Steroids are performance-enhancing
drugs that are used by many athletes of all ages, they cheat their career and are not only illegal,
but also dangerous to their health. Their use of steroid drugs tarnishes the sport, loses fans, and
earns a profit for themselves.
Steroids have been in use for a long time. The first trace of steroids can be dated back
to the early 20th century. In 1931 a German chemist named Adolf Butenandt stared to work with
steroids but later a man named Leopold Ruzicka also a German chemist found a way to make the
hormone safe for humans to use. In 1935 Ruzicka and Butenandt compounded the first batch of
synthetic of testosterone, now know as anabolic steroids. And in 1939 they both won the Noble
Prize for their work in chemistry. The ironic part is that they won the Noble Prize for inventing
steroids but today we look at steroids as a bad thing. The steroids were first used on German
soldiers. The steroids helped the health of the soldiers during war time.
According to Choi et al., “Since the 1950s increasing numbers of Olympic athletes
have taken anabolic steroids drugs in order to increase muscle mass, strength, and power” (Choi
Steroids in Sports4
et al., 1990). The first use of steroids to enhance performance in an athletic event can be dated to
the 1954 weightlifting championships. In that year the Soviets destroyed everyone in most of the
weight classes. Choi et al., said that the steroids increased strength, muscle, and power of the
steroid which was that most likely reason that the Soviets destroyed everyone. According
Steriods.com, the Americans started to question the Soviets. “As the story goes, John Ziegler
(team physician for the United States) questioned the soviet team´s doctor after the medals were
given out, and the soviet doctor said that his team had been receiving injections” (“Steroids in
Sports”, 2005). Shortly after that the International Olympic Council issued a ban on steroids but
not because of the safety reason but because the moral and ethical reason, and later on
professional sport organizations like the NBA, MLB, and NFL issued bans on anabolic steroid
use. Shortly later, in 1972 the first Olympic athlete was caught using steroids. American
swimmer, Rick De Mont, was found to be using a newly banned substance called ephedrine.
Ephedrine at the time was only an approved medication for asthma, and Rick had asthma
therefore he didn’t get in trouble. The famous Arnold Schwarzenegger, who won seven Mr.
Olympia reportedly used steroids but was never caught.
According to Steroids in Sports I learned, “Major league baseball was the last major
sports organization in the United States to implement a comprehensive drug testing policy. This
all started with a bottle of a nutritional supplement seen in Mark McGwire´s locker. The bottle
contained Androstendione, a prohormone, or a compound which can convert into another one
inside the body” (“Steroids in Sports”, 2005). McGwire at the time was about to break the record
for home-runs hit. He ended up retiring a little bit after breaking the record. A couple years later
Ken Caminiti revealed to Sports Illustrated that he had used steroids and estimated that about
Steroids in Sports5
half the players in the MLB were using it. The media started to go crazy after the MLB after
Caminiti’s admission. The fans and the media started to question the MLB after his admission.
The most famous use of steroids in baseball has been Barr Bonds, in 2003. Steroids have been
used in many sports, but the most famous use of steroids is in baseball.
The definition of anabolic steroids from dictionary.com is a synthetic derivative of
testosterone, sometimes used by athletes to help increase weight and strength. Anabolic steroids
are available in two forms oral and injectable form. According to Choi et al., “Oral substances
include methyl-testosterone, fluoxymesterone and stonazolol; injectables include nandrolone,
testosterone propionate and stanazolol” (Choi et al., 1990). The injectable form has a higher risk
of infections and diseases that are transmitted in the blood. Anabolic steroids have a harmful
long term effect to the user.
The first argument against steroid use is the harmful physical effects, especially that
short term effects the anabolic steroids have on the male population. Some short side effects men
may develop while taking steroids are reduced sperm count, damage to the heart, impotence,
difficulty or pain while urinating. A reduced sperm count would mean it is, harder to make
children, which is not a good thing. Many people want to have kid in their future and a reduced
sperm count would lower the chances of that. Damage to the heart is not a good thing and could
be difficult to live with. Difficultly or pain while urinating can be an annoying thing and
something a man wouldn’t want. There are also many long term effects on the future of the
anabolic steroid user. They are liver disease, liver cancer, development of breasts, baldness,
shrunken testicles, a higher voice, and decreased virility. These side effects are all things men
don’t want. The steroids basically turn a man into a woman. You always see those commercials
Steroids in Sports6
for hair loss, with a bald man trying to find a product that will give him his hair back to be more
attractive to women. I don’t want to develop breasts and I'm pretty sure many man also don’t
want develop breasts. The big thing is the smaller testicles, no man wants smaller testicles. It
would take away a man’s’ manhood. According to Kennard, “Research especially those studying
hospitalized patients, show the liver can suffer serious effects from the use of anabolic steroids.
Anabolic steroids reduce the livers excretory function. This is particularly so with the steroids
containing 17-alky. The liver can suffer from a bleeding cystic condition that is potentially fatal.
Use of steroids has also been linked to liver cancer, although this is very rare” (Kennard, 2006).
Also according to Kennard, “Although no long term studies have been conducted into the effects
of anabolic steroids on the heart and the vascular system there is evidence from studies and
investigations that they can cause or are risk factors for cardiovascular system damage, problems
with blood pressure and lipoproteins such as cholesterol. There is some evidence that anabolic
steroids can cause structural changes to the heart and that heart disease and strokes are possible
with anabolic steroids especially oral types of the drug” (Kennard, 2006). There are many short
and long term effects that are not exciting. These athletes who take steroids should look into the
effects of steroids before they choose to take steroids. All of these steroids are damaging to
future health of the steroid user and also an annoying thing to deal with.
The athletes that take steroids are only looking at the steroids as a short-term thing,
and not the short term bad effects. The athletes are looking at the short term boost. The counter
argument for steroids effects on the health of the body of the steroid user. According to Steroids
in Sports, “Besides making muscles bigger, anabolic steroids may help athletes recover from a
hard workout more quickly by reducing the amount of muscle damage that occur during the
Steroids in Sports7
session. In addition, some athletes may like the aggressive feelings they get when they take
drugs” (“Steroids in Sports”, 2005). As the article stated the steroids can be used for recovery
after a workout. The steroids can also be used a medicine, according to Kennard, “Steroids are
used for treating delayed puberty; some types of impotence; wasting of the body due to such
conditions as HIV; some types of anemia; osteoporosis (brittle bones in menopausal women) and
for itching caused by a liver condition called primary bilary obstruction” (Kennard, 2006). There
some other benefits of steroid use that don’t involve the medical side. The better the athlete does
in the sport. The better the athlete does in the sport the more the athlete gets paid. The more
money a person has means they have more freedom to do what they want. Another benefit could
be to the fans. The fans get to see better games because the athletes using the steroids are playing
at a higher level. The higher level that the athletes play at the better and more interesting the
games are. The fans approval also benefits the organization of the sport. The more fans that
watch the game the more money they make. Therefore the organization would include incentives
into the players’ contacts that if they break a certain record or play at a certain level they would
make more money. The incentives would be a motivating thing for some athletes to use steroids
to become better and make more money. The last benefit is that sexual desires are increased.
The second argument that athletes shouldn’t take steroids is the harmful health effects
of the anabolic steroids on the female population. There are both short term effects and long term
effects of the anabolic steroids on the woman’s body. The short term effects are breast reduction
and excessive hair growth. The long term effects are deepened voice, enlarged clitoris, abnormal
menstrual cycles, increased body hair, and increased appetite. McLaughlin describes the physical
effects on the female body female body by, “In addition to appearance and menstrual changes,
Steroids in Sports8
steroids may cause severe acne, water retention or bloating, liver disorders, sexual disorders and
unhealthy cholesterol levels. High cholesterol caused by steroids may lead to cardiovascular
conditions, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Taking steroids during pregnancy may
negatively affect fetal development” (McLaughlin, 2010). The anabolic steroids basically turn a
woman into a man like they turn a man into a woman. Many women, mostly likely all women,
don’t want to have a deep voice. A deep voice is unattractive in a woman. Excessive hair is
another thing women don’t want. Women don’t want to look like a man with a lot of hair. An
increase appetite would mean eating more, and eating more would mean being heavier. Women
don’t want to be fatter and an increased appetite would make a woman bigger.
The arguments against the effects of steroids on women are basically the same as the
arguments against the effects of steroids on the men. Those that are arguing for steroid use
would say that the steroids could be used a medicine. They would be arguing that steroids can
help a person who is sick and should be legal.
In the previous paragraphs I have listed the harmful health effects of steroids on the
female and male population separately. I will now discuss the thirds argument against steroids
which are the harmful effects of steroids on both the male and female population together. The
harmful effects both the male and female population steroids user might experience are severe
acne, liver abnormalities and tumors, increased low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (the
"bad" cholesterol), decreased high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (the "good"
cholesterol), aggressive behaviors, rage or violence ,psychiatric disorders such as depression,
drug dependence, and a heart attack or stroke, even in a very young person. There were many
harmful effects that males and females can experience separately and adding theses that they can
Steroids in Sports9
both experiences makes steroids seem even worse. No one wants to have acne because it is
unattractive. There are many commercials that show both men and women using a certain
product to remove the acne of their face. The steroids don’t only give, steroid users acne on the
face they get acne all over their body. Aggression from a steroid user can be a very bad thing.
The aggression is uncontrollable and can hurt both the steroid user and their loved ones. In 2007
there was a case with a wrestler who had used steroid. Chris Benoit was a champion wrestler and
was loved by all wrestling fans. Back in the day when I used to watch wrestling he was my
favorite wrestler. The reason I am wring about Chris Benoit is because what happened to him
and his family after he took steroids. According to Sherwood and Nelson, “Officers found his
wife Nancy strangled to death and their 7-year-old son Daniel appeared to have been suffocated.
Bibles were found next to their bodies. Benoit's body was found hanging from a weight machine
in the basement” (Sherwood, Nelson, 2007). Nancy was the wife of Chris. The case was ruled a
double homicide-suicide. Chris had murdered both his wife and child, and later hung himself. It
has been said that the reason for Chris’s actions was because of aggression from steroid use. This
story of Chris Benoit leads back to the aggression effect of steroids I was talking about in the
beginning of the paragraph. What happened with Chris shows that steroids don’t only affect the
user. The steroids also affect the people around the user. Another huge harmful effect of steroids
is that the growth of the bones can stop and a teenager using steroids won’t grow to full adult
size. This can cause problems in the future.
One that is arguing for steroids would have the same counter argument against the
harmful effects of steroids on both the male and female steroids user as the counter argument for
each separately. They would again go back to the medical use of the steroids. They would also
Steroids in Sports10
say how the steroids make the user stronger. There are many arguments that are for steroid uses.
I believe that athletes shouldn’t use steroids because of all the short and long term harmful health
effects on the body they have. I have shown in previous paragraphs the effects that steroids have
to the current and future body of the steroid user. The counter arguments mostly talk about how
the athletes make more money because of steroid use. To me and also too many others the health
of an athlete is more important than money. If athletes have all of these medical bills in the
future when they stop making money and retire from the sport, they will waste the money they
made on the medical bill. There won’t be a point of making all that money if you’re going to end
up using on medical bills in the future. But it won’t be only be money that an athlete taking
steroids would lose with the medical bills, they would have to suffer through the pain of the
health problem, and waste their time in the hospital. Time that could be spent with family and
loved ones. Money might seem important to the athlete if there only thinking of the present, and
not the future. They must think of their future if they want to live a long and happy life. Like the
saying goes “Money doesn’t buy happiness.” The worst thing steroids can do to someone is take
someone’s life away. I had shown in a paragraph above how steroids have taken someone’s life
away, and it wasn’t only the user that was killed, it was also the user’s family. Listening to the
terrible story of what happened to Chris Benoit should make one think differently of taking
steroids. As I previously had said, the aggression that comes from the steroids is uncontrollable.
The forth argument for against steroid use is that fans will be lost because the integrity
of the game is ruined. Fans love to watch sport games because it is entertaining and fun to watch.
Every fan has an idol that they look up to in the certain sport they are watching. For example
many fans love to watch basketball and idolize Lebron James. Many fans would be heartbroken
Steroids in Sports11
if they heard that Lebron James was using steroids because that would be cheating. Fans like me
want to idolize a player who worked hard to get to where they are. Many fans had idolized Barry
Bonds and followed him his whole career. Barry Bonds was a home-run king. Every baseball fan
in the world was watching the game when Barry Bonds broke Hank Aaron home-run record, but
later we found out that he has used steroids. According to Elias, “Court documents show Barry
Bonds tested positive for three types of steroids, and his personal trainer once told his business
manager in the Giants' clubhouse how he injected the slugger with performance-enhancing drugs
"all over the place”(Elias, 2009). Ever since then many fans started to dislike Barry Bonds. Hank
Aaron had earned his record by working hard and practicing but Barry cheated his way to the
record. I and many fans lost all respect for him. There had been many baseball athletes that had
been caught up with steroids. Ever since all these players have been caught with steroids, I had
stopped watching baseball. The steroid use don’t only ruin the game for the fans it ruins it for
player using the steroids because they eventually will be caught and there chance of going to the
hall of fame will be ruined. According to Hanley, “All of this is not to say that there are no more
players using illegal substances. Major league players such as Edinson Volquez, Ronny Paulino
and Sergio Mitre have all been hit with 50-game suspensions over the last few years. Ryan
Braun faces a 50-game suspension as he has been publicly smeared after a potential positive test.
Manny Ramirez became the first MLB two-time offender under the new policy and was given a
100-game suspension that has likely cost him his career and a sure Hall of Fame induction”
(Hanley, 2012). Hanley talks about how many baseball player have been caught and suspended
for the use of steroids. He also talks about how Manny Ramirez ruined his chance of going to the
Steroids in Sports12
hall of fame as all other steroid users ruin their chance of going to the hall of fame.
Those that argue for steroids use would have counter arguments for the argument of fans
being lost because the integrity of the game is ruined. They would argue that more fans actually
are watching the certain sport. According to Grossman et al., “Along with player performance
and salary increases, the Steroids Era also saw significant improvement in league franchise
finances. While franchise values fell during the early 90ís, they increased dramatically during the
Steroids Era, with the average MLB franchise value rising from $140 million in 1994 to $332
million in 2004. More applicable to our analysis, franchise revenues accelerated from a
Pre-Steroid Era CAGR of 3.4% to a Steroid Era growth rate of 5.0%” (Grossman et al., 2002).
Grossman and others show how the MLB team's value increased while steroids were being used.
Those arguing for steroid would bring this up and show how the teams’ values were lower while
steroids weren’t being used.
In conclusion, athletes shouldn’t take steroids because of many reasons. They shouldn’t
take steroids because of the harmful effects of steroids on the human body. There are many
harmful effects of steroids to both the female and male population. As I had stated above some
of the main effects are aggression, acne, and baldness. The aggression from steroids is a huge
thing because it is uncontrollable. Chris Benoit killed both his wife and child, and eventually
himself because of steroid use. It was the uncontrollable aggression that got to him. Those the
are arguing for steroids would say how steroids could be used as medicine. The argument that
fans are lost because of sports is a great argument. Many fans want an idol who worked hard to
get to where they are. The fans don’t want to watch an athlete who cheated their way to where
they are. The counter argument for fans being lost is that stats prove that wrong. The stats show
Steroids in Sports13
that the MLB team's value went up because of steroid use meaning that more ticket sales. To
stop steroid use in sports, professional sports should do more to stop it. According to Strand, I
believe that any player who has ever tested positive for any steroid unless prescribed by a doctor
to treat a medical condition should be banned permanently from the game. When I same
permanently, I mean permanently with no opportunity for reinstatement. I do not mean that
baseball should just use positive steroid tests from now on, but I mean anyone who has ever
tested positive in the past, including the list of players from 2003. Also, there should be
mandatory random screenings for players throughout the year to keep players from using
steroids at all” (Strand, 2009). I agree with Strand for the way to stop steroid use in sports. If
athletes knew that they would be banned from the sport the athletes would think twice about
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News and Opinion on The Huffington Post. Retrieved May 2, 2012, from http://www.huf
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