In Neal Gabler’s article, The real trouble with steroids, Neal equates the use of PED’s to other legal performance-enhancement practices like “improved nutrition, weight-training, vitamins and other dietary supplements, even aspirin have all been used approvingly,” calling them “similar athletic aids.” He goes on to infer that science will someday bring safer, better drugs to the table for athletes to use making them into “quasi-Supermen,” as he puts it.
The general tone of his piece comes from a standpoint that the use of illegal performance-enhancers is not really cheating, per se, since so many others are doing similar, if not the same things. That it is an athlete’s choice if he wants to take these types of risks in an effort to become a better athlete, with only brief mention that this behavior literally forces other athletes to follow suit.
Coming from the complete opposite end of the spectrum is Rob Bradlee’s response, There will never be an acceptable arena for doping in sports, to Gabler’s piece, under “letters to the editor.” In it Rob describes his belief of the hypocrisy in Gabler’s contention that science will bring “less-harmful” drugs to enhance one’s performance stating that:
“These drugs can never be safe. They disturb the natural balance of the body in a way that legitimate, scientific training does not,” and “Elite athletes who ingest artificial chemicals to hyper-develop their physical attributes always pay a price in degeneration of their long-term health. For junior athletes the damage is even greater.”
Interesting positions, both of them, and I am sure there are numerous other viewpoints that fall along the scale between these two perspectives. However, rather than shoot a bunch of holes through one of these perspectives, I thought it might be interesting to seek out which way visitors to my blog might lean using the following poll.
Take a moment to vote and let’s see where the majority falls.