Dirty Doping in Sports, Cheating or Competing?
by Castagnetti on February 4, 2014 - 1:28pm
The Article entitled “Drug testing for Sports: an Overview” written by Ericka Bouchard discusses the effects of performance enhancing drugs in the world of sports. Ericka begins the article by explaining how athletes use drugs such as anabolic steroids in order to increase their testosterone and red blood cell levels to gain muscle endurance, strength, weight, etc. Athletes who use performance enhancing drugs do so for a multitude of different reasons. One Reason is to “level the playing field” with athletes who have a much higher natural red blood cell count than the average athlete. The more common reasons that athletes justify using these illegal drugs is because it is becoming impossible to be the best without using them since so many athletes are already doping. Athletes like MLB’s Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez and even the “Tour du France” 7 time winner, Lance Armstrong have all been caught doping causing them to be stripped of their achievements. This raises the question that if all world class Athletes such as these owe most of their success to performance enhancing drugs why are these drugs illegal?
The answer is simply that these drugs are obviously harmful to one’s health and can even take a life as seen in the case of English cyclist Tom Simpson who died after using amphetamines during the 1967 “Tour du France”. Shockingly it wasn’t until 2004 that the United States began to issue mandatory drug testing’s and hearings within its major sports organizations such as the NHL, NFL, MLB, NBA, etc. Despite their intentions these hearings were met with criticism by citizens questioning whether the government’s involvement in the affairs of private leagues was appropriate. Certain Athletes were also against the hearings by claiming that mandatory drug testing violates the fourth amendment of the U.S constitution which protects against unreasonable search and seizure. The medical privacy of an Individual is also at stake due to the inaccuracy of some drug test which obtain unclear result.
The conflicting values that appear in the argument of these drugs in the sports world are Individual right versus Health and regulation .Athletes believe they have the Individual right to do so with their own body‘s in order to be able to compete in these highly competitive sports. These values are conflicting with the government’s beliefs that these drugs are highly dangerous and not only make the achievements of dopers questionable but also that young athletes may be influenced by their childhood heroes who turned out to be doping. In fact, studies show a direct relationship between young men with poor body images and the use of anabolic steroids. With studies expressing how influential these drugs can be it is increasingly more important to protect the health and integrity of the young athletes in the world. This moral claim has also become the basis behind UNESCOs vow to fight drug doping in sports which in 2004 obtained 100 countries with the same idea in mind. What UNESCO demonstrated through this vow is that doping will not be tolerated even if it is for the sake of competing. Despite these actions doping is still the number one problem in sports so do these athletes have the right to want to be able to compete or are these drugs just an illegal shortcut?
Bouchard, Erika, and Nancy Sprague. "Drug Testing for Sports:An Overview." Point of View. EBSCO, n.d. Web. 4 Feb. 2014.