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paper2 - Eric Manor American Politics Professor Tabrizi...

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Eric Manor American Politics Professor Tabrizi 10/26/05 Paper 2 Steroids in Professional Athletics Ever since our government was created in 1776, moral issues have been the main topic of controversy throughout our political system. From abortion, to the death penalty, to gay rights, these issues have created heated debate, and lead to the uprising and downfall of many politicians. One of the prominent moral issues in political debate today is that of steroid use in professional athletics. Recently, Congress has brought this issue to the forefront with a congressional hearing, as well as the proposition of several bills. If in fact these bills are passed, professional athletic leagues will be forced to abide by standards set by Congress or face sanctions. This begs the question: What does Congress stand to gain by imposing steroid policies on professional athletic leagues? Steroid use for performance enhancement is not a new problem. In fact, it has been around for hundreds of years, although original forms of enhancement were much more primitive. Ancient Greeks, Egyptians, Roman gladiators, and Spanish conquistadors are all on record as having taken stimulants to improve their performance. Modern performance enhancement did not come about until the 1930’s, when testosterone and androsterone were discovered. Hitler used these discoveries to his advantage in World War II by giving his troops testosterone to increase aggressiveness and strength. Steroids spread to sports in the 1950’s, when Russian athletes first began using them to increase their strength and power, and in 1968 the 1
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first Olympic steroid testing program was created. The first major anti-doping enforcement came in 1988. Several days after winning the gold medal in the 100 meter dash, Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson tested positive for a banned substance, and was stripped of his medal. Steroids weren’t only being used by Olympic athletes, however. In a book released in 1991, former Pittsburgh Steeler Steve Courson estimated that half of all linemen in the NFL used steroids. In the early 90’s, Major League Baseball seemed to be facing doping problems as well. Players were getting larger, and more home-runs were being hit. In the midst of his epic chase of the home-run record held by Roger Maris, Mark McGwire admitted to taking andro, a substance banned as a performance enhancer by the International Olympic Committee, but still legal in MLB. Andro has since been banned by MLB (CQ Researcher 2004, 11-13). With steroid use apparently running so rampant throughout sports, action needed to be taken. In 1999, the NFL became the first professional sports league in the United States to adopt a steroid testing policy. The NBA soon followed suit. Major League Baseball has been much slower in its pursuit of steroid users. It wasn’t until 2002 that the first drug testing occurred. MLB instituted a plan that would randomly and anonymously test players throughout the league. If steroid use was found to be 5%
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