Why is it that every time a Major League baseball star admits using
steroids, the sports world seems to erupt? By now we should be more
stunned when discovering a successful player from the 1980s or ‘90s DIDNT
use performance-enhancing drugs.
Recently, when a teary-eyed Mark McGwire publically admitted to making a
mistake by using steroids throughout his storied career, another
firestorm engulfed the media. Is he really contrite for his actions?
Should McGwire be voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame? Has he been
It seems to me that these are still the wrong questions. The image of a
sobbing player, asking for forgiveness after being caught cheating, then
moving on with life as if nothing happened but breaking a few rules sends
the wrong message to other players and our kids.
We should be asking the sport of baseball how it can better educate young
athletes about the serious dangers of steroid use. Maybe some athletes
think they can live with known side effects such as acne, baldness, bad
breath, yellow teeth, nervousness, and height loss. It may even be worth
it for some men to look forward to a future existence with shrunken
testicles and breast development.
Yet, it could literally be impossible to live with the increased
propensity for heart attacks and liver damage brought on by steroids.
These drugs can kill you.
Beyond the obvious physical changes, increased aggression and violence
are the least understood side effects of these drugs. The roid rage
phenomenon is blamed by many for the disproportionately large number of
body- builders accused of murder compared to other athletes.
Roid rage may also help explain the reaction of McGwires former
teammate, Jose Canseco, the day after McGwires recent confession. Though
McGwire admitted to using steroids, he denied Cansecos allegations about
him. Canseco wrote a book in 2005 about baseball and steroid use, claiming
that he introduced many baseball players to the drugs, including McGwire,
and injected him with drugs in bathroom stalls before games.
If there was ever an example of why steroids should be avoided at all
costs, Cansecos juvenile actions should qualify him as the poster-boy.
After McGwires confession, Canseco exclaimed, I cant believe he called
me a liar.
I even polygraphed that I injected him, and I passed it completely. So I
want to challenge him on national TV to a polygraph examination. I want to
see him call me a liar under a polygraph examination. Canseco was
scheduled to appear on Larry King Live that night, but said he had to
cancel due to the emotional stress that McGwires interview had caused
Between McGwires sobbing confession and Cansecos apparent emotional
meltdown, we are left wondering if the former Bash Brothers (as they
were know in their heyday) of the mighty Oakland As are still on
steroids. They have been reduced to the Bawling Brothers a couple of
weepy drama queens only concerned about proving the other to be the bigger
If Major League Baseball was really serious about waging war on steroids
in sports it would strictly enforce the rules now in place and bar
admitted steroid users such as Mark McGwire from the sport effective
immediately. No playing or coaching, no Hall-of-Fame eligibility, no
attending games, no autograph signings, no connection with the game in any
way - unless the drug-abusing players paid a penance.
Their punishment would be to convincingly lecture youth groups over a year
on the dangers of steroid use. That way it might sink in for all of us
that using performance-enhancing drugs is far worse than making a simple