Point and Counterpoint: Are PEDs all bad for sports? (By Joey Gawrysiak)

Posted: September 4, 2013

SU professor Joey Gawrysiak

PEDs, otherwise known as performance-enhancing drugs, is an acronym that has flooded the sports world over the past decade.

Terms like “level playing field,” “juicing,” “cheater,” and “asterisk” have crept into the sacred grounds of sports heroes, impossible performances, and unreal games.

No longer can the sports’ world accept unbelievable performances without questioning the cleanliness of the athletes involved. Were they cheating or were they actually good? This is not what sports and sport conversations should be about.

PEDs must be eradicated at any cost in order for sports and athletes to regain the credibility lost over the past 10-15 years.

The positive aspects of drug testing and cleaning up professional sports far outweigh the negatives.

With sports ever increasing as a big business with millions of dollars at stake, players want there to be an equal opportunity to perform their best without the consequences and pressure to use PEDs.

By eliminating PEDs, an admittedly nearly impossible task it seems, professional athletes, not to mention college, high school, and even youth, will not feel the pressure to follow the norm and use PEDs in order to catch up.

This protects the health of all athletes across the board.

Leveling the paying field and bringing it back to a place where talent and hard work pay off, not who can get the best PEDs and use the most substances, only makes the games better for players and fans.

The most positive aspect of eliminating steroid and PED use in sports, especially professional sports, to me is the role that these athletes play in the lives of millions of youth across the country and world.

Professional athletes — sorry Charles Barkley — are role models. Plain and simple. It is not a matter of wanting to be a role model or feeling like they should or should not be, they just are. It comes with the territory.

When athletes are caught or even suspected of using PEDs, the media makes sure to let everyone know who is suspected and what the implications may be.

Seeing or hearing that a role model of a young athlete is using PEDs may influence the choices made by that athlete.

There are health risks for high school students who see their favorite athlete dominating the competition with help of steroid use, because they may decide to use steroids as well.

It is true that some steroids are safe to use, but anytime supplements are used for athletes, especially young ones, negative side effects are bound to occur.

It is true that PEDs enhance the speed and action we often see on the field. They can also help our favorite athlete recover quicker from injury in order to play more often.

PEDs can, in a sense, make the games we love better by making the action faster and the hits harder.

Those harder hits can lead to more injuries, which can then lead to more steroid use to help recover from those injuries faster.

It is a vicious cycle.

Football has already seen its share of controversy with brain injuries and concussions. By allowing all players access to something that can make them jump higher, run faster and get stronger, the number of injuries can only increase, leading to potentially more injuries and possible deaths.

A suspension for PED use is a slap in the face.

A slap to the face of Pete Rose, a great baseball player suspended for life for gambling on baseball. We have seen the elimination of gambling by those participating in the game. Now we need to see the elimination of PED use.

Lifetime bans for a first offenses will send a message. Big names like Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun may be bringing to light the problem of PEDs in sports, but nothing like a lifetime ban would.

Get the drugs out of sport and let the games be played by those who deserve to be there through hard work and determination, things found inside themselves, not from the outside world.

Let the games be played on the field, not in the lab.