why are steroids more newsworthy in baseball than in football?

1 09 2006

Why do cases about steroids in the NFL not get as much attention as in baseball?  Recently a big case was exposed about the Carolina Panthers, who were in the 2004 Super Bowl.  Several of their players had multiple steroids prescriptions that kept getting refilled.  Less than a week before the Super Bowl, two of them were given prescriptions for five different banned substances.  This has got to stop!

I’ll tell you why I think it’s a bigger issue about Barry Bonds than about the NFL or other players getting caught : because Bonds is breaking home run records, which are some of the most “sacred” records in baseball.  Steroids were becoming a problem in baseball in the early-to-mid ’90s, and most everyone knew about it, yet nothing was done.  Players were hitting more home runs, so (casual) fans enjoyed the game more and attendance went up (and thus owners made more money).  Never mind that steroids were illegal in the U.S. at that time… somehow they weren’t illegal in baseball.  Sure, the owners and the commissioner would say they shouldn’t do them, but there were no tests, no punishments, so players did what they wanted.

But when Barry Bonds broke the single-season home run record, it became a bigger deal.  When he started having his best seasons in his late 30s, breaking all sorts of records, people were getting concerned.  And now he’s passed Babe Ruth for second on the career home run list and he’s close to first place (held by Hank Aaron).  Now because these important records are being threatened and broken, it’s important that they aren’t “tainted” by steroids.  And so lots of people are against Barry Bonds now, even though lots of other players have taken steroids.  Also keep in mind that Bonds has never failed a steroids test.  (I know there is the leaked grand jury testimony.)  So he hasn’t been convicted of taking steroids, yet much of the media treats him that way.

The first half of this article mentions the scandal with the Panthers and also includes a link to a full news article about it.  It also alludes to the point I made above about “sacred” records :

It seems the outrage is reserved solely for baseball.  When they pull this kind of news out of a football locker room it barely elicits a shrug.  Why is that?  Is it because there are no records in danger of being broken by an offensive lineman?

Or is it because we expect it from football players, and our lack of response is merely a reflection of our lack of surprise?

In closing, here’s a couple of quotes from a baseball writer who also shares this view :

I’m tired of reading how the scandal is going to cast a black cloud over baseball all season, and how all the recent performances should carry an asterisk.  Yes, steroids are bad and baseball should work to try to eliminate them.  But how much longer is baseball supposed to be the nation’s official punchline for steroids when there is a league filled with 220-pound safeties, 260-pound quarterbacks and 330-pound linemen? ~ Jim Caple, 4/7/04

You want to know why so many people are upset about steroid use in baseball?  It’s certainly not out of any concern for the health of players — if injury risk and long-term health were really a concern, fans would insist that the NFL be shut down immediately.  It’s because they don’t want anything to disturb their perception of the all-important home run statistics. ~ Jim Caple, 4/7/04

Professional sports need to deal with this issue, because steroids are dangerous, especially to youth.  Many youth look up to professional athletes, and many people want to play pro sports, so they want to do whatever it takes to accomplish that.  But for the sake of people’s health and for fair competition, rules against steroids need to be enforced.  And youth need to be educated on what steroids will do to your body.  I realize those who allow steroids to continue have their reasons (like money, fame, the unfair edge), but they need to do what’s right, which also happens to be what’s best for everyone involved.

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One response

10 03 2007
Tainted Stat

The reason why so many pro athletes are for steriods is because there are so many people within their sphere of influence (coaches, trainers, physicians, etc.) that convince them and encourage players to use steroids.

In reference to pro football, the NFL is as tough on players as the baseball leagues (which is not much at all). The ones who get the most criticism are those who excel to the point of breaking personal records. Quaterbacks, running backs, and defensive linman are those targeted because of coveted personal records. Nobodies like kickers, offensive lineman, fullbacks, etc can take all the roids they want cause their are few personal stats on these positions.

Either way, it is not right but if this is the norm sports then the mindset is “use it until your caught” and lose everything you worked for.

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