Since the 1960s, the use of anabolic steroids otherwise known as “doping”, has been a reoccurring issue in professional athletes. The media circus surrounding these performance-enhancing drugs has since been in full swing.
Major League Baseball saw the steroid era in the 1990s. The reliance upon them amongst weight lifters, Olympians, football players, and all physical domains has created larger-than-life super hero versions of people who were once considered elite athletes. A bench press of 300 pounds once seemed intangible, but is now seen as child’s play to an ordinary gym rat.
Which brings me to question the entire media frenzy surrounding professional athletes and the huge effect it has on their reputation and career. Why is it that we have such an easy time forgiving athletes like Ben Reothlisberger and Ray Rice, the latter who was arrested and subsequently indicted for a third degree assault incident in which he punched his wife so hard she was knocked unconscious. Further, there is Michael Vick who operated the aptly named “Bad Newz Kennels,” which housed and trained over 50 pit bulls, staged dog fights, killed dogs, and ran a high stakes gambling ring with purses up to $26,000. Here we are so quick to neglect these terrible crimes, which are without a doubt much worse than injecting yourself with some drugs. However, shortly after these men have served their convictions, they were resigned and back at pursuing a very rewarding career.
Injected anabolic steroids is undoubtedly unfair, and in 2015, illegal. This was not the case when players like Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Roger Clemens, Alex Rodriguez and many others were accused of doping. Was it fair? No. Did it put anyone but themselves in harm? No. Although highly probable, not all of these cases have been proven. This being said, it completely jeopardized their career and made that it is highly unlikely that they’ll make it into Cooperstown, better known as the baseball hall of fame. It seems that people have a much harder time forgiving athletes on crimes committed, which affect the game, rather than the terrible examples that other athletes are setting outside of the sport.
A great example of this is seen through the career of Jose Canseco. Once celebrated as one of the most popular players in major league baseball, Canseco’s name has since become virtually synonymous with the game’s “steroid era.” While some people criticize him for his steroid abuse, in addition to ratting out his former friends and teammates. Others admire his strength to blow the lid off baseball’s rampant problem with performance-enhancing drugs. Canseco, on the other hand, expresses little regret for his decisions. “ I wanted to be the best baseball player in the world,” he said, “That was my goal, my only goal, really, and I never let things stand in the way of my goals. So in that sense, no, I’m not ashamed of it. I cared so much about winning, and about making the game more exciting for the fans, that I did what I had to do.”
The most intriguing question is why we all have such negative connotation of performance enhancing drugs? Because of the way media stigmatizes anabolic steroids, there seems to be three main points brought up:
- It is cheating.
- These respected and idolized athletes are setting a bad example for younger generations.
- It contains irreversible and damaging health implications on its users.
Throughout the years, these have undeniably been the main talking points every media outlet has been constant about. This is a perfect example of how the media took control of a controversial subject and spun it in a way that illustrates just how effective showing only one side of things can be. They have not only shown first hand how fast taking steroids can help build up someone’s career and life, but also just how quickly it can tear it apart.