Many sports have been impacted by the use of performance enhancing drugs, steroids, HGH and blood doping.
Baseball has had many scandals over the last ten years. Some of the game’s top players have been involved in these scandals which are driven by athletes breaking the rules in order to gain that edge that many athletes crave.
Cycling, football, boxing, tennis, track and field, swimming and other Olympic sports have also had their share of problems with athletes, coaches, owners, unions, trainers teams and managers who are cheating by using banned or illegal substances or failing to ‘”play by the rules” regarding banned substances.
There is also some evidence to suggest that younger athletes at the high school level are using these substances and dangerous tools to perform better and to increase the likelihood of earning college scholarships and entrance into professional sports.
The financial rewards and the pressure to perform are both quite substantial for elite athletes. And it is easy to understand why athletes can be drawn to drugs and to blood doping in the hope of performing their best.
It is also easy to understand how and why league officials, trainers, owners and unions have been less than responsive to this problem in the past. Like the players, they, too, profit from outstanding performances which draw fans into the arenas and into the stadiums. Home runs, records and incredible athletic feats generate huge dollars for their industry.
However, there now seems to be a climate among players and the powers that be in sports in which there appears to be a more sincere desire to end these drug based forms of cheating.
Since many sports have been affected by these kinds of scandals, I believe they all can benefit from a simple policy that can be applied to all sporting events.
In my mind, there is a simple solution which ought to be applied to every sport. Having a uniform policy will help to make athletes and those people who surround athletes more aware of the rules and consequently more accountable for their actions.
The policy is as follows:
First, athletes, coaches and trainers need to be educated about the dangers associated with these substances.
Second, the penalties need to be simple, significant and very clear.
That is, the first offense carries a one year ban. The second offense carries a three year ban. And the third offense carries a lifetime ban from the sport.
A simple, clear, universal policy like this when applied to all sports may be a step in the right direction toward solving the steroid and banned substances problems.
This kind of policy seems reasonable, clear and fair. Applying it to all sports at every level can help to move sports to being drug free and cheating free.