Sports, all over the world, are a very important part of most of our lives. Many people cannot finish their day if they have not played sports at least once a day. For centuries, it has been one of the most appreciated and favorable for human health activity. Many different kinds of sports activities take place every living second. From schools to colleges to even corporate organizations, sports are loved by all – beginning from sports day in schools, to athletic meets in colleges, to even inter-organizational or friendly matches, sports is taking over all arenas.
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Every region usually has its favorite sport – China loves table tennis, also known as, Ping Pong; India and Pakistan love cricket., the united states of America loves baseball, so on and so forth. However, with the change in the world and the increase in competition and pace and the need to succeed due to the survival of the fittest; sportsmen have started to distort the meaning of sport. It is no more the challenge, passion, vigor, love, team spirit and commitment to win that comes from within – it is not a natural rush of chemicals and hormones inside your blood. It has now become an artificial game – unfair, and about rewarding not the inborn or acquired talent or hard work, but something along different lines of unfair means and unfair competition.
Drugs give you a sudden outburst of energy, stamina and consistency – sports that require a constant and longer duration of endurance. This is common in sports like weightlifting, cycling, tracks and other bodily exhausting sports. This has been happening for a very long time now and for international and national level games where somebody is representing your country, it is extremely disappointing because it reflects as an unfair advantage that your team had. Drugs usually give an unfair advantage because it gives electrifying energy for a short time and if taken at the perfect time, they can be very useful in sports and winning them (Mottram, 2005).
More recently, some countries have been involved in drug testing before games that has now become a norm over there. Such as the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) which is keeping track of doped sportsmen. However, there are certain countries that still do not care and do not realize the implications. At the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, 4500 blood and urine samples were collected for testing – rising 25 per cent from what were collected at the 2004 Games. It was also said that if any sportsmen was found guilty, the medals would be called back and the sportsmen would be disqualified (Waddington & Smith, 2008).
The most commonly used drug here is steroids and hormones – they use these for body energy and muscle building. Steroids and hormones artificially grow your body and enhance your muscles and naturally give a lot of energy that can be used for sports. These are basically performance enhancing drugs.
In history or the past events in sports and mainly throughout the major history of Major League Baseball, steroid testing was never a norm because the steroid and hormone taking to enhance performance was not exactly a major issue. However, after the BALCO steroid disgrace, which concerned accusations that top baseball players had used illegal performance-enhancing drugs during their game and that because the top baseball players were mainly involved, the entire baseball fraternity was under suspicion and scrutiny. This is when the Major League Baseball finally decided to subject severe and stricter penalties for steroid using sportsmen. The policy against these steroid users was issued in early 2005 and was eventually accepted by the Major League Baseball players and was then eventually accepted by other random baseball players. The policy was simple yet effective and was as follows:
If a player was test and the result was positive the first time, he would be suspended from 10 coming games; while if the test is positive for the second time, the player is banned from the next 30 games. Likewise, if the player is found guilty and the test results in a positive result, the player would be suspended from the coming 60 games, while if the test would be positive for the fourth time, a year long suspension would be put on him and no game whatsoever could be played by him. Also, if the result was positive the fifth time, the penalty would be based on the commissioner’s discretion. The original plan was the test these players at least once a year, and at times they could also be tested more than once a year.
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The policy has been revised a bit due to the high amount of drugging that has started to take place in baseball and the penalties have become severe and heavier on the sportsmen. The Major League Baseball players would be suspended from the 50 first games if the drug test would result in a positive result for the first time; while if the test would be positive for the second time, it would be resulted in 100 suspensions and if yet again the result is positive for the drug tests the third time, the player gets a life-time ban on him and is not allowed to play ever again – he is then declared unfit for the baseball player community.
George Mitchell is the former Senate Majority Leader as well as the federal prosecutor and to top it all the ex-chairman of The Walt Disney Company. This man was made responsible by the Commissioner of Baseball Bud Selig to keep a good check on the Major League Baseball players during their activities to find out whether drugs, steroids, hormones or any kind of performance enhancing drug is being consumed for unfair energy and success or not. This took place during the time when there was a huge controversy of baseball superstars Barry Bonds, Gary Sheffield, Alex Rodriguez and Jason Giambi working on performance enhancing drugs. This story was published in Game of Shadows by San Francisco Chronicle which was published in 2006 (Wilson & Schmidt, 2007). These were the stars of baseball and the book caused a storm in the baseball world because these were extremely open allegations against them – their careers were literally at stake. The influential members of the US Congress did not find it acceptable that the names of the baseball stars found guilty were being publicly announced – they wished for the lack of effectiveness of the Major League Baseball’s policies to be kept hidden from the public and media. However, this was not accepted by the board and they believed that if some super star as well was found guilty, the public should know so that awareness increases and they understand that baseball is played very fairly and even if some big shot does this mistake, he will be penalized – this sets an awesome example for the other young and new players who will then realize that their careers are at stake if they go ahead with such activities and unfair means of competition.
The players, however, were not that naïve or obedient to have stopped the usage of drugs because of policies; no such policy has been extremely and so effective as of yet. The players did find an alternative way – they stopped taking drugs that were easily detectable in the blood. When the random testing began ion 2004 with a mandatory stance, the only alternative and in fact, the safest alternative was the HGH treatment for Athletic Enhancement – the reason for this is that this drug is very difficult to detect in tests. Also, the ratio has become so high that it was reported that at least one player from each of the thirty Major League Baseball teams was involved in the unfair usage of drugs before these games to win and beat their competition using their endurance, stamina and muscle energy created by usage of drugs. 1:30 were basically violating the rule of not taking drugs (Berry, 2008).
This means that the drug act violation never stopped and is still currently going on. It is very difficult to keep track of each and every player especially when with increasing progress in the world and increasing consumption of such drugs, alternative routes to drugging are coming up. Just like HGH cannot be detected, there are several other drugs that are being used and players are getting away with these activities. However, at the same time there have been players who have been caught. Since the opening of the 2009 game season, Major League Baseball and its fans have been shocked, entertained and shaken by the steroid allegations against Alex Rodriguez and David Ortiz and the fact that Manny Ramirez was suspended from the next 50 games because this drug test results were positive – these are the three biggest baseball stars and were yet accused, which is incredible in its own way because this way, the government can gain public confidence that they are implementing their policies and is treating everybody fairly and that nobody has an edge just because they are a star (O’Leary, 2001).
Comparing this situation to the yester years when sports were so naïve and fair that, such things would not even have been thought of. Back in those days players played with the natural spirit and zeal that came for their team and based their victory solely on their talent and natural abilities and body endurance. Those were the actual baseball heroes – the losers of those times are also better than the winners of today’s time because at least the losers played with their actual strength; and had they been given the drugs, they could very well win the game too and become victorious.
These incidences show how important it is to keep a check on the sports happenings and their players and why we need proper boards monitoring everything. It is awesome to have such policies that keep the sports arena in place and on track; however, smooth implementation is the key to a clean and fair sports world.
Berry, DA.; “The science of doping”; Nature 454, (2008)
Mitchell report: Baseball slow to react to players’ steroid use ESPN.com. Web.
Mottram, D., Drugs in Sport; Routledge; (2005); ISBN 978-0-415-37564-1.
O’Leary, J. Drugs and Doping in Sports – Socio-Legal Perspectives; Cavendish Publishing (2001), ISBN 1 85941 662 4.
Waddington, K., & Smith, A., An Introduction to Drugs in Sport; Routledge; (2005); ISBN 978-0-415-43125-5
Wilson, D. & Schmidt, M., “Baseball Braces for Steroid Report From Mitchell“; The New York Times, (2007). Web.