Table of Contents
This research study is on the use of steroids in the sporting sector. The paper will however narrow down to the use of steroids in the baseball game. My choice on the topic was hugely driven by the relevance of the study to the various stakeholders not only in the baseball game, but also to the various others in the other sporting field considering that drugs are equally used by athletes across other events. The problem is widespread and a current one with the latest development being the integration of the anti-doping regulations and policies by the major world sports organizing bodies in the events management systems. This has seen various renowned athletes banned from participating in games some for some time and others for life. For example Maria Sharapova, the legendary tennis athlete who failed the doping test in January 2016. Such has been the case in the sporting field making the topic one of the most current ever in the world news headlines. Am thrilled by current news and given the magnitude of the matter, I could not help but settle on the topic. This is also contributed by my big love for sports.
History of Steroids in Baseball
Dr. Ruzicka invented the first steroid ever in the 1930s. However, he never envisioned his invention to be a drug that will ever cause problems in the sporting field. He intended that his new drug will help patients ailing from such diseases like AIDS or cancer (Momaya, Fawal, & Estes, 2015). However, against his expectation, the drugs found its new use in 1970s when athletes or their managers found out that steroids can actually be used to enhance the body performance to the advantage of the athletes. Ever since then, the athletes never looked back in the use of steroids with the subject matter hitting its all-time high in the 1983 Olympic, an event in which up to 10 athletes were disqualified from taking part in any event for doping (Momaya, Fawal, & Estes, 2015). Before then, there used to exists no national or international rules that provided the solution to doping cases until the problem got out of hand and the sporting event organizers felt that some athletes were advantaged as compared to others through the use of steroids. After the 1983 Olympic case, the Anti-Doping Convention of Council of Europe would be invented six years later in 1989 to provide oversight over the problem which was now eating away the beauty of the sport. The rest of the world would join hands with Europe to come up with the World Ant-Doping Agency (WADA) in 1999 (Momaya, Fawal, & Estes, 2015). WADA was given full mandate to execute and ban for lifetime athletes found breaching the rules on anti-doping.
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The problem has advanced in the baseball game with similar velocity and there has been incidences as well during which the law has had to come into play. For instance, former Major League Baseball (MLB) legend David Wells stated that 25 to 40 % of the players in the MLB used steroids and other energy enhancers as of 2016. Jose Canseco also a former MLB player sated that 80 % of his players who he played with in the 1980s used steroids and that he himself used steroids for his entire career (Murray, & Shandra, 2013). The 1996 National League MVP award winner Ken Caminiti also surprised his fans after revealing that he actually won the MVP title while on steroids. Years later in 2003, Alex Rodriquez would also fail the doping test after he was declared the American League MVP (Utsler, & Epp, 2013). He admitted to have used performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) from 2001 to 2003 (Murray, & Shandra, 2013). However, in the last decade, the situation has greatly changed with the professional athletes in the major leagues realizing how difficult it has been to use steroids after serious legal regulations were put in place. However, that has not guaranteed complete stoppage to use of steroids in baseball game since the act has found its way into the Junior College level as well as Division I, II and III baseball players (Murray, & Shandra, 2013). That points to the magnitude of the problem that the baseball stakeholders have to deal with if the problem has to be brought to an end.
Rise of the “Steroid Era”
When people talk of the “Steroid Era”, they are simply referring to the period between the 1980s and mid-2000s (Kozman, 2017). This is a period during which the use of anabolic steroid almost out showed the baseball event. The rampant usage of the steroids and other performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) in the Major baseball League in the United States for that period saw the drafting and passing into law the Joint Drug and Treatment Program (JDTP) by the Congress House to manage the situation (Momaya, Fawal, & Estes, 2015). This was a further move by the Congress and the Federal states to put sanity in the sport after athletes had testified and lied before the Congress on several occasions. There was little they could do to the athletes since the existing legal framework never gave further directions on the matter. However, with JDTP in place, the Congress had more mandate to execute as far as doping in the MLB and other leagues were concerned in the US (Kozman, 2017). Nevertheless, the problem exists up to date in a much smaller margin as compared to the “Steroid Era”. The issue is much fueled up by the multi-millionaires who have the desire to take any available advantage in peddling the drugs as well as the desire by the athletes to outshine their competitors (Momaya, Fawal, & Estes, 2015). With the situation so complicated, there has been proposal by a section of the stakeholders to address the matter through the moral and legal approach at a go since the efforts so far have never paid off.
The governing Laws and the Major League Baseball policies
Chief in the regulation of anabolic steroid use in the MLB in the US is the Controlled Substance Act (McMullen, 2014). The Act was established in 2004 as an effort of the federal government to control the manufacturing, the possession, use, importation and the distribution of certain substances (McMullen, 2014). Initially, the Act was referred to as the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970. Through this Act, the use of anabolic Steroids as well as other PEDs is regulated right from their manufacturing to their supply network (McMullen, 2014). Through the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), the Act has launched a tangible war against doping in the baseball game but still it is not enough.
Another major law governing the MLB is the 2002 Major League Baseball collective agreement (C.B.A). The CBA was enacted after series of players strikes in the year 2001. The CBA was aimed at both curbing the strike threat as well as allow the government to conduct random steroids test on the athletes (Utsler, & Epp, 2013). This added the government more footage in regulating the baseball. Before then, many of the tests conducted on the athletes were limited to cocaine and such other heavy narcotics but they would ignore mild drugs like steroids.
From the above analysis, it is evident the anabolic steroid in the baseball game is far from over. The legal system alone does not seem to deliver the wanted solution. Therefore, it is in my opinion that more and more civic education is done on impacts of drug abuse and the community involved in finding the solution to the problem. Further, moral approach in addressing the menace should be consulted to boost the possibility of watching a baseball free of steroids and PEDs.
- Kozman, C. (2017). Who framed the steroid issue in baseball?: A study of the frame-source relationship in traditional and new media. Journal of Sports Media, 12(2), 125-156.
- McMullen, M. (2014). MLB drug policy analysis. Journal of Facility Planning, Design, and Management, 2(1).
- Momaya, A., Fawal, M., & Estes, R. (2015). Performance-enhancing substances in sports: A review of the literature. Sports Medicine, 45(4), 517-531.
- Murray, J., van, d. R., & Shandra, J. M. (2013). Why they juice: The role of social forces in performance enhancing drug use by professional athletes. Sociological Focus, 46(4), 281-294.
- Utsler, M., & Epp, S. (2013). Image repair through TV: The strategies of McGwire, rodriguez and bonds. Journal of Sports Media, 8(1), 139-161.