Yes, it's true - that is no misprint. Major League Baseball should legalize steroids and end this madness once and for all.
When it comes down to it, what are steroids as used in professional sports? Anabolic steroids, the ones Alex Rodriguez and a host of other athletes have allegedly tested for, have been deemed illegal by USFDA and have been banned from major sports as a result.
But why are they banned in the first place?
The thinking behind banning steroids most likely goes something like this:
1. Steroids can alter an athlete's performance and create an imbalance in the competitive nature of the game.
2. Steroids have a negative impact on the health of these athletes.
3. Therefore, steroids should be banned from athletic competition.
There are several problems with this line of thinking. If the true aim of the baseball powers that be was to create a perfectly competitive environment, they have already failed in part. There are millions of different variables that go into whether one baseball player can outperform another, and no one is on the same level to begin with.
Without listing steroids as a factor, two players with similar talent level can be completely different based on the choices they make. If one player takes legal supplements every day, diets and exercises properly, and generally takes good care of his body, he will have an significant competitive advantage over a player who neglects to do any of these things.
The second part of this theory speaks to the health risks imposed by steroids. While it is true that anabolic steroids have been linked to harmful changes in cholesterol levels, liver damage, high blood pressure, and structural damage to the heart, almost all of these health risks can be found in something so common as a cigarette. These athletes are fully grown men who play at the highest level in sports. Grown men and women should be allowed to weigh the risks and rewards of a given decision and determine whether they subjugate themselves to its consequences.
Anabolic steroids are simply a means to an end. Like cigarettes relieving stress or Viagra enhancing performance, steroids produce a benefit with several potential consequences attached to it. If the sporting world doesn't ban substances with a negative affect on performance, what sense does it make to ban those with a positive effect? Professional athletes should either be fully regulated in terms of substances or not.
If an appeal to logic and common sense is found unsound, a more humanistic view of the game will suffice.
Baseball is a game of tradition and heroes. Part of what makes the game so special is the players that captivate us with their triumphs and failures. If the heroes which make the game so exciting are constantly vilified and made out to be worse than they are, the game itself will suffer and interest will fade. Without athletes to celebrate, baseball becomes a mechanical sport void of passion and excitement.
If anything, legalizing steroids will give the sports world a more clear view of athletes and the values they stand for. Getting this issue out in the open where it can be discussed as well as researched thoroughly would clear up misconceptions as well as provide a potentially safer way for people who decide to partake in this activity.
People make positive and negative decisions that affect their lives every day. We as a society must decide whether or not to embrace the ideas of freedom and personal liberty.
And maybe this madness will finally come to an end.