Finally: Common Sense On Steroids

Posted: 24th October 2009 by DavidBurnett in NBA, Steroids
Tags: , ,

The other day Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban suggested that some sports need to embrace a clinical approach to the use of steroids.


But even as he made that statement Cuban predicted that he would be widely criticized for his belief that athletes should be allowed to use steroids under a doctors care as a way to recover from injuries.

But I won’t be one of the naysayers. I believe he’s right on this.

I applaud Cuban for having the courage to raise this subject publicly and without apology. I hope this begins a responsible, rather than hysterical, dialogue about all kinds of recuperative drugs including steroids. The reality is that these drugs are not always used for performance enhancement.

In the real world we have real people using steroids, human growth hormone and other specialized drugs under a doctors care all the time. These drugs are beneficial in “enhancing” the lives of the people who need them. So shouldn’t athletes have the same options that are available to everyone else.

Of course I am not saying these drugs should be abused. But what is wrong with using them to regenerate tired and sometimes torn bodies so that the athlete can compete again.

Of course all athletes are looking for an “edge” to help them win. But seeking an edge doesn’t always mean cheating. The reality is that while most successful players are driven to be better than their opponents and to win, they also are quite aware that in order to play and to beat the opposition they must be able to quickly recover from injuries.

Just as importantly its not unreasonable for them to want a comfortable and relatively pain-free life in retirement too. Which is why some athletes ought to be allowed to use certain drugs to not just extend their careers but extend their lives.

But the misinformed clamor about performance enhancing drugs, particularly in Major League Baseball has distorted and warped a discussion that all of us should welcome.

The best example might be pro football. NFL football is arguably the most brutal contact sport in the world. The physical toll on NFL players cannot remotely be measured. Some of the injuries incurred by players last a lifetime or cause their deaths.

So why shouldn’t a football player or any other athlete have a pharmaceutical means to manage the pain he feels, heal his injuries and minimize the potential long-term damage to his health?

These athletes play not only for their own wealth and glory, but even more importantly they play for our entertainment. But unfortunately as fans I don’t think we place enough value on the extreme physical sacrifice that athletes often make for us.

Common sense ought to prevail here in dealing with this issue.

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