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Unformatted text preview: Brian Chase Why in baseball is using steroids considered cheating? May 18, 2006 In 2004, an Associated Press poll found of 865 baseball fans surveyed, 61 percent thought those who had tested for steroids should be banned from the game. 1 Another poll in April 2005 found that two-thirds of the people surveyed thought players testing positive for steroids should be banned from the hall of fame. 2 Clearly, the majority of baseball fans consider taking steroids cheating. Why is that? Based on articles in today’s sports magazines and various public displays at games, most baseball fans think that steroids give some players an unfair competitive advantage over others. But this response stems from the faulty underlying assumption that players have some “innate” ability or talent which is not dependent upon their environment. In fact, the only way steroids are different from other performance enhancers like protein shakes or nutritional supplements is because their side effects are worse and their performance enhancing effects are large. This efficacy, and the “steroid body” that goes with it, triggers fans’ pharmacological Calvinism, the belief that taking a pill for any reason is bad, and leads to the media labeling the steroid culture and users as alien, which are the factors that truly keep steroids on the wrong side of public opinion and MLB policy. Steroids, like many other drugs, have gone through waves of pubic opinion in their existence. Steroids and concern about them have been around since the early 70s, according to congressional testimony by Henry Waxman, a representative from California who is a member of the House Committee for Interstate and Foreign Commerce, which dealt with the steroid issue. 3 At that time, the use of steroids in baseball was kept from the public, ostensibly to keep kids from using drugs as well. 3 By the late 1980s, according to a celebrated article on steroids by Tom Verducci in the June 3, 2002 issue of Sports Illustrated, steroids entered public consciousness as the drugs of a “renegade fringe” and Jose Canseco, who has now admitted to steroid use and written a confessional book about using, lost an endorsement deal because of steroid rumors. 4 Waxman reports that, similar to Barry Bonds today, fans “chanted the phrase ‘steroids’ when [Canseco] came to bat.” In 1991, Faye Vincent, commissioner of baseball at the time, issued a policy that labeled steroids illegal when taken for the purpose of enhancing performance. However, no major league testing of steroids was established, so players continued to use and reap the benefits. 3 At the same time as Vincent’s proclamation, Canseco was gracing SI as the “King of Swing” and he and his teammate Mark McGwire were glorified as the “Bash Brothers.” 5 By the late 1990s, baseball’s inattention to steroids transferred to the fans as well....
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- Fall '06
- Major League Baseball, Home run, Barry Bonds, Anabolic steroid