If college football announcer Brent Musburger had his way, everyone in professional sports would be allowed to take performance-enhancing drugs, as long as a doctor said they could.
During a talk to journalism students at the University of Montana, Musburger told his audience that journalists have demonized steroids and that it should be up to doctors to decide whether it’s healthy for an athlete to take steroids.
“I’ve had somebody say that, you know, steroids should be banned because they’re not healthy for you,” Musburger told the students, as quoted in the Missoulian. “Let’s go find out. What do the doctors actually think about anabolic steroids and the use by athletes? Don’t have a preconceived notion that this is right or this is wrong.”
Musburger has been a sports announcer since the early 1970s and has earned a lot of respect through his work. But on the issue of steroids, Musburger is dead wrong.
It’s not journalists who have demonized steroids. Doctors have already presented plenty of evidence that steroid abuse by athletes has led to medical problems later in life.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that steroid use can cause health problems such as liver damage, jaundice, fluid retention, high blood pressure, increased risk for prostate cancer and renal failure.
It’s a slippery slope when athletes start relying more on drugs than on their talent. If steroid use was made legal in sports, it would become a widespread problem. Musburger says that athletes shouldn’t be forced to take steroids, but athletes would basically be forced to take steroids to stay competitive in a sport where the drugs are legalized.
Musburger’s other point is that high school athletes should not be allowed to take steroids. The problem is that if young athletes see that everyone in the professional leagues is on performance-enhancers, they’ll want to take them, too. Is a professional team going to draft a young player who doesn’t look like he’ll be able to compete in the big leagues?
Leagues have started taking steroid use very seriously. Houston Texans’ linebacker Brian Cushing was suspended for four games by the NFL earlier this season after testing positive for steroids. This is the kind of message that should be sent to athletes, not the message Musburger is promoting.
I don’t want to see every baseball player hitting 100 home runs or every hockey player scoring five goals per game. I want to see people who have practiced hard to get where they are and deserve to be there.
Do you agree with Brent Musburger that steroid use should be legalized for professional athletes? Share your thoughts below.