Last week, we asked readers to comment on the use of steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs in sports. Here are some of their responses:
Numbers not credible
Baseball is a game of numbers, more so than any other sport. The average baseball fan can quote numbers such as the record for home runs, his favorite player's slugging percentage, etc.
Steroid use has placed the credibility of those numbers and the players that achieved them in jeopardy. From now on, when a player shows up at spring training suddenly 20 pounds larger and much more muscular, he will immediately have his "winter nutrition and workout system" questioned, especially if his offensive production increases to any extent. What do you think people will think of Barry Bonds' 73-home run record if he now falls back in the pack and becomes a 30-homer-a-year guy?
Outstanding offensive production will forever be tarnished and in question.
Hey, if the players are stupid enough to take steroids for the little bit of glory it will give them, so be it! But make them submit to a drug test, and if there are any complication from the drugs, they have to pay the medical expenses out of their pockets. And any records they set will not be counted. Unless they are under the new title "Steroid User Records."
In last week's sports section were articles about two high schools having to forfeit football games due to cheating. In both cases, students gained an advantage by breaking the rules.
Parents are teaching their kids in high school that they should cheat to get ahead. Why is it so surprising that they should continue to do so later on?
At the same time, the enormous salaries and bonuses offered these days in professional sports are a rather potent inducement to overachieve, no matter what the cost or legality. Add to that mix the ever-increasing attitude in our society that we have the right to whatever we want, but it's someone else's responsibility if we don't succeed.
So why is it so surprising that performance-enhancing drugs are widely used in professional sports?
Unlevel playing field
The use of any steroid in sports is atrocious. The players who do not use drugs lose recognition for their natural ability, while the players who do are over-compensated monetarily for an ability that is not theirs. It creates an unlevel playing field while abusing the trust the fans put in the players to play fairly. To put it plainly, the use of steroids in sports makes me sick.
I think the message is that steroid use in sports is symbolic of the era we live in. Management of major corporations is being indicted daily for criminal activity. Our current philosophy is win at any cost. Look at the NFL, where dynasties once ruled; now you can build a championship team in two to three years.
I think players will do anything to get an edge, and management couldn't care less about the long-term results. Our society couldn't care less if players have been arrested for any crime ranging from DWI to murder if it means winning more games.
It's sad that players have reduced themselves to cheating to win. Long gone are the days of Brooks Robinson and Mark Belanger, where a shortstop could be 5 feet 9 and 150 pounds. Welcome to the 21st century.
Note: Some responses were edited for length, grammar and/or clarity.