Dear ProCon.org readers, we need your help. The average cost for ProCon.org to educate 26 people with nonpartisan research on important issues is $1. The average taxi fare in America is about $10. We are asking everyone who visits ProCon.org to donate the cost of one taxi ride – at least $10 – to this important charity. Without your support, the programs at ProCon.org that serve millions of students, teachers, and others cannot exist. Our charitable work is funded entirely by your donations. Thank you and happy holidays!
Dear ProCon.org readers, we need your help. The average cost for ProCon.org to educate 26 people with nonpartisan research on important issues is $1. The average taxi fare in America is about $10. We are asking everyone who visits ProCon.org to donate the cost of one taxi ride – at least $10 – to this important charity. Without your support, the programs at ProCon.org that serve millions of students, teachers, and others cannot exist. Our charitable work is funded entirely by your donations.
This website exists to give people a real understanding of issues from both sides – not a biased echo chamber version of understanding issues. ProCon.org, a nonprofit public charity, provides – for free and without ads – nonpartisan facts, well researched pros and cons, and a platform for critical thinking on today’s most important issues. Please support this work with your tax-deductible donation in 2016. Time is running out, and the country needs ProCon.org more than ever. Thank you and happy holidays!
James Kirkup, MA, Executive Editor for Politics at The Telegraph, stated the following in his Nov. 10, 2015 article titled "Athletics Doping Crisis Is Just Another Reason to Allow Drugs in Sport," available at telegraph.co.uk:
"What should happen is this: doping should be allowed.
Really, why should the use of steroids, or any other performance-enhancing drug, be banned? We should allow all of them. Not just drugs either: gene-therapy, DNA modification, the lot.
The important point is that as long as the participants are grown adults, making informed choices about the possible consequences, there should be no restriction on what sportsmen and women can do. We don't stop grown men punching each other senseless in the ring or putting their body in the path of a leather ball travelling at 95mph just because they could come to harm. We trust them to make the choice.
So we should also let them take whatever substances they like to run faster or hit harder... Allowing doping and the rest would just make sport more entertaining – and more honest."
Julian Savulescu, PhD, Professor and Uehiro Chair in Practical Ethics at the University of Oxford, stated the following in his Nov. 11, 2015 article titled "The Ethical Case for Allowing Doping in Sports," posted at qz.com:
"In light of our proven inability to enforce a zero-tolerance approach to sport, we should instead take a pragmatic approach. As a very brief and incomplete overview, I argue that we should allow doping within safe, measurable physiological parameters...
For years, we have been pretending that the problem was Lance Armstrong, Dwayne Chambers or Marion Jones. Now we are told the problem is not individuals, but a country (Russia). Or an organization, the IAAF.
But even these are not the problem. The problem is human nature. Athletics is humanity pushed to extremes, both physically and mentally. There are enormous prizes for extraordinary physical feats. There are effective means of enhancing performance. At the same time, our anti-doping capabilities are anemic and sporadically enforced...
Yes, athletes will still try and cheat wherever the line is drawn. But by focusing on measurable physiological parameters, and only using zero tolerance on drugs that are unsafe in any dose, we will have a chance to alter the balance so the rules we do have are enforceable, and it is rational not to cheat. We will also be able to tell athletes, teams and national agencies that these rules really matter... Does it matter if someone raises her hematocrit by sleeping in a hypoxic air tent or by using erythropoietin if the result is the same? No."
Ellis Cashmore, PhD, Visiting Professor in Sociology at Aston University, stated the following in his Nov. 12, 2015 article titled "Opinion: Why Sport Should Allow Doping," available at cnn.com:
"Were athletics to lift its ban on doping, its problems would vanish...
Today's sports performers are encouraged by their coaches, managers and, of course, us to win at all costs. Who can blame them for taking supplements when the chances of detection are remote? For all its tough-talking, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) always appears to be -- and often is -- one step behind the cheats...
[W]e've been persuaded that sportsmen and women should be 'clean' -- ignoring perhaps their use of hypnotism, acupuncture, oxygen tents and any number of other performance aids that are not tainted by the label 'drugs...'
Track and field, indeed sport, will never rid itself of doping, no matter how draconian the penalties. The stakes are simply too high."
Torbjörn Tännsjö, Kristian Claëson Professor of Practical Philosophy at Stockholm University, stated the following in his Sep. 10, 2015 article titled "Let Athletes Dope: A Moral Case," available at bostonglobe.com:
"The ban on doping must be lifted.
Whatever means that athletes resort to, when they want to improve their skill, should be allowed. Those who are naturally weak should be allowed to improve their talents and complete successfully with those who have a natural advantage on them...
In doing so, there will be other consequences. Doping would be healthier and more efficient, the medical ethics around it standardized. If hemoglobin, for example, could be openly monitored and measured, athletes would not be allowed to reach unhealthy levels."
David van Mill, PhD, Associate Professor of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Western Australia, stated the following in his Aug. 27, 2015 article titled "Why Are We So Opposed to Performance-Enhancing Drugs in Sport?," available at theconversation.com:
"How interested are we in fairness in sport? Athletes try to enhance their performance in many ways: coaches, psychologists, dietitians, massage therapists, training at high altitude, skin-tight swimsuits. All of these are used to gain an advantage, which is often unfair because, like drugs, they are available to some – wealthy athletes rather than cheats – but not to everyone.
The Tour de France, a sporting event well known for drug use, would not suddenly become a level contest if drug use disappeared. The race winner has his performance enhanced by the quality of his team...
Given that drugs are significantly cheaper than psychologists, permitting their use might actually level out the playing field for poorer athletes. Finally, if fairness is our major concern we can easily solve the problem by lifting the prohibition – thus making drugs available to all athletes."
Bennett Foddy, DPhil, Harold T. Shapiro Postdoctoral Fellowship in Bioethics in the University Center for Human Values at Princeton University, and Julian Savulescu, PhD, Professor and Uehiro Chair in Practical Ethics at the University of Oxford, wrote the following in their June 2007 chapter titled "Ethics of Performance Enhancement in Sport: Drugs and Gene Doping," published in Principle of Health Care Ethics:
"It would be much easier to eliminate the anti-doping rules than to eliminate doping. The current policy against doping has proved expensive and difficult to police. In the near future it may become impossible to police...
Because doping is illegal, the pressure is to make performance enhancers undetectable, rather than safe. Performance enhancers are produced or bought on the black market and administered in a clandestine, uncontrolled way with no monitoring of the athlete's health. Allowing the use of performance enhancers would make sport safer as there would be less pressure on athletes to take unsafe enhancers and a pressure to develop new safe performance enhancers and to make existing enhancers more effective at safe dosages...
The removal of doping controls would have major benefits: less cheating, increased solidarity and respect between athletes, more focus on sport and not on rules."
Adrianne Blue, Senior Lecturer in International Journalism in the Department of Journalism and Publishing at City University London, stated the following in her Aug. 14, 2006 article "It's the Real Dope," published in the New Statesman:
"Today, sport's dirty little secret is drugs, and it is high time we made them legal. Performance-enhancing drugs may not be desirable, but they are here to stay. What we can do away with is the hypocrisy.
Insiders know that many - perhaps most - top players in all sports take drugs to train harder and feel no pain during play. The trainers, sports doctors, nutritionists, physiotherapists and managers of the big names make sure banned substances are taken at the safest and most efficient levels, and when they can, the governing bodies look the other way...
The main effect of banning such substances has been to turn performers and their coaches into liars and cheats. We should legalise performance-enhancing drugs so that they can be regulated and athletes on the way up - whose entourages do not yet include savvy physiotherapists and doctors - don't overdose and do themselves damage."
Lincoln Allison, DLitt, Founding Director of Warwick University's Centre for the Study of Sport in Society, wrote the following in an Aug. 9, 2004 article titled "Faster, Stronger, Higher," published in the Guardian:
"A sportsman or woman who seeks an advantage from drugs just moves up to the level appropriate to his or her underlying ability...
There are no drugs to enhance the human characteristics of judgment and leadership. If there were, would we not want the prime minister to take them? And if there were drugs for hand-eye coordination, would we not pay more to see a performer who had taken them than one who had not?...
In general, the risk to health from performance-enhancing drugs is considerably less than that from tobacco or alcohol, and we ought not to apply paternalistic moral assumptions to sport that we are not prepared to apply to the rest of life."
Norman Fost, MD, MPH, Professor and Director of the Medical Ethics Program at the University of Wisconsin, made the following statement in a Dec. 18, 2006 interview published by Scout.com (a Fox Sports News website) titled "Baseball Men - The Skeptic":
"We allow people to do far more dangerous things than play football or baseball while using steroids. We allow people to bungee-jump, to ski on advanced slopes, to cliff dive. To eat marbled meat or ice cream pie every day if they want. I don't think we want to go down a path in which we restrict and even criminalize behaviors just because they have health risks. And steroids are so low on the list of drugs or diets that cause serious harm I don't understand why we would start there."
Lewis Kurlantzick, LLB, Zephaniah Swift Professor of Law at the University of Connecticut School of Law, wrote in his Apr. 12, 2006 article titled "Is There a Steroids Problem? The Problematic Character of the Case for Regulation," published in the New England Law Review:
"Athletes are in a position to make a decision about what behavior is in their best interest, to weigh the risks and benefits according to their own values. And a paternalistic rule that attempts to prevent the athlete from harming himself runs counter to the important values of independence and personal choice. Moreover, it is likely that the feared harm is neither life-threatening nor irreversible. Presumably, under this health rationale, if performance is enhanced by substances that cause neither short-term nor long-term harm to the athlete, these substances should not be banned."
Kenan Malik, Senior Visiting Fellow at the Department of Political, International and Policy Studies at the University of Surrey and presenter of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Radio 4 show Analysis, stated during a Jan. 4, 2004 Analysis episode titled "Tainted Gold":
"But scientists already help athletes win. Cyclist Chris Boardman won his Olympic Gold in Barcelona in 1992 sitting on a specially-engineered machine. In the Rugby World Cup, England players wore body-hugging shirts specifically designed to help evade tackles. In neither case did the scientific work in the labs devalue the sporting triumph in the stadium. Why view drug use differently?
It's difficult, in any case, for proponents of the current drugs policy to assume the moral high ground. Not only are the arguments for a draconian drugs regime flawed, but the policies often lead to dubious consequences. Is depriving a 16-year Romanian gymnast of her life's dream because she took a couple of Nurofen tablets really to stand on principle?"
Sam Shuster, PhD, Emeritus Professor of Dermatology at Newcastle University, wrote in his Aug. 4, 2006 article titled "There's No Proof That Sports Drugs Enhance Performance," published in the Guardian:
"The ethical argument...disappears on examination. Sport is for enjoyment and competition, and usually aims to improve; but what is the difference between increasing skill and performance by training, and taking drugs?...
What is more 'fair' - the use of a team of sports specialists or a simple pill? What is the difference between training at altitude and taking erythropoietin to achieve a similar effect? And why are the strips of adhesive plaster on the nose - absurdly believed to increase oxygen intake - more acceptable than a drug which reduces airway resistance?"
Carl Thomen, PhD candidate in Sports Philosophy at the University of Gloucestershire, wrote the following in a Feb. 28, 2009 email to ProCon.org:
"With reference to performance-enhancing drugs, if we have discarded the useless 'unfair advantage' argument because of an unbiased look at the inherently technologically unfair nature of professional sport, we are really only left with worries about harm to athletes. Please note: harm to athletes, not breast augmentation patients, Viagra users or the spaced-out Ritalin generation. We don't worry when the Isle of Man TT race or the Vendee Globe claims another life, or when that boxer on the news gets Alzheimer's. And when innocent Canadian soldiers are shot by American pilots buzzing on Army-sanctioned ephedrine, we're still convinced that sport is somehow exempt from the influence of the natural human desire for constant improvement.
The rationalization is that it is okay for pilots to take performance-enhancing drugs, for musicians to use Beta blockers and for our children to swallow Ritalin because performance is paramount. But where are our health concerns now? Perversely, we deny the 'performance is paramount' principle in professional sport while citing health concerns about performance-enhancing drugs. We want better performances from our sports heroes all the time, but demonize the methods used to produce such performances while hiding behind concerns for health that are not commensurate with our normal paternalistic attitudes."
Richard Boock, author and sports journalist, wrote the following in his July 31, 2008 article titled "Drug Testing Just Dopey," published in the Sunday Star Times:
"It's unclear why we continue to beat ourselves up over performance-enhancing drugs, it's not as if international sport has a great tradition of being pure and clean. Up until 1968 it was a free-for-all; over the next 20 years it was only moderately restricted, and even now the poachers seem light years ahead of the game-keepers"
Gary Roberts, JD, Editor-in-chief of The Sports Lawyer, submitted the following response in a Dec. 13, 2004 debate entry titled "What Should Baseball Do About Drugs," published by Legal Affairs:
"Home runs are hit only because the player has great skill at swinging a bat at a little ball coming at him at over 90 mph. Most of the folks reading this could take steroids all their lives and still not be able to hit that little ball.
If someone wants to earn millions of dollars being a professional baseball player, he may feel pressured to use steroids to make himself the best that he can be. If he doesn't want to take those health risks, he can take his chances or go into some other line of work. Nobody forces anyone to be a baseball player. That is true for guys who fight oil well fires, tame lions, or do dangerous stunts for the movies, as well.
In short, if the public wants to see 500 foot home runs and there are young men willing to run the health risks associated with taking substances that allow them to hit those home runs and make millions of dollars, why not cut the pretense of public outrage and let them do it?"
Bengt Kayser, MD, PhD, Professor of Exercise Physiology in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Geneva, Alexandre Mauron, PhD, Professor of Bioethics in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Geneva, and Andy Miah, PhD, Reader in New Media and Bioethics in the School of Media, Language, and Music at the University of the West of Scotland, wrote the following in their Dec. 2005 article "Viewpoint: Legalisation of Performance-Enhancing Drugs," published in The Lancet:
"We believe that rather than drive doping underground, use of drugs should be permitted under medical supervision... The boundary between the therapeutic and ergogenic - ie, performance enhancing - use of drugs is blurred at present and poses difficult questions for the controlling bodies of antidoping practice and for sports doctors. The antidoping rules often lead to complicated and costly administrative and medical follow-up to ascertain whether drugs taken by athletes are legitimate therapeutic agents or illicit.
...Furthermore, legalisation of doping, we believe, would encourage more sensible, informed use of drugs in amateur sport, leading to an overall decline in the rate of health problems associated with doping. Finally, by allowing medically supervised doping, the drugs used could be assessed for a clearer view of what is dangerous and what is not..."
Radley Balko, Senior Editor of Reason magazine at the time of the quote, wrote in his Jan. 23, 2008 article titled "Should We Allow Performance Enhancing Drugs in Sports?," published in Reason:
"Sports is about exploring and stretching the limits of human potential. Going back even to the pre-modern Olympics, when athletes ate live bees and ate crushed sheep testicles to get a leg up on the competition, sports has never been some wholesome display of physical ability alone. Ingenuity, innovation, and knowledge about what makes us faster and stronger (and avoiding what might do more harm than good) has always been a part of the game...
...A free society isn't really free at all if it doesn't include the freedom to make what some may believe are bad decisions."
Kate Schmidt, former US Olympic javelin thrower, wrote the following in her Oct. 18, 2007 article titled "Just Say Yes to Steroids - Learn, Make Better Choices," published in the Los Angeles Times:
"In the same way that we have learned about injury prevention and safety, we need performance drugs exposed to the hot light of public scrutiny. We need to legitimize their use. With a more realistic view of our elite athletes, parents and kids can make more informed choices about their extracurricular activities.
The technology exists to test for levels of most of the substances on the 'banned drugs' lists. What if we declared that certain levels of them in the body were acceptable, while excessive amounts would result in penalties? Athletes could satisfy their drive to be faster and stronger. Drugs could move from the black market to the legitimate sports-medicine community. Athletes could stop experimenting on themselves. It would be safer to take the substances, and with medical monitoring, there would be fewer negative side effects... Track gets faster, nutrition gets more specific and training techniques improve."
Gary Cartwright, writer for the Texas Monthly, in the magazine's Apr. 2008 article "Truth and Consequences: Yes, Roger Clemens Is a Jerk. But Congress Shouldn't Make a Federal Case Over Whether He Lied About Using Steroids," wrote:
"Who among us hasn't used performance enhancers, preferably with ice and an olive? Steroids, synthetic substances similar to testosterone, can be as benign as those that are commonly prescribed for allergies and as harmful as those that have sent many retired athletes into physical decline; as with any medication, the effect depends on the dose and frequency of use...
For the most part, however, the only thing certifiably bad about steroids is that they may improve athletic performance. Somehow we've decided that the only hardworking professionals who shouldn't be permitted to enhance their performances are athletes. Amphetamines were staples in professional training rooms in the sixties and seventies...
It is time to admit that not all steroids are dangerous and that every individual and every situation cannot be addressed with the same set of rigid rules. Instead of banning steroids, we should control them. Cool the hysteria; educate without scaring."
Abdul-Karim Al-Jabbar (formerly known as Sharmon Shah and Karim Abdul-Jabbar), former National Football League (NFL) running back, was quoted as having said the following in a Sep. 7, 2006 ESPN The Magazine article titled "HGH: Performance Enhancer or Healer":
"The bottom line is we get beat the hell up. We need whatever's available to keep ourselves out there... I think anything that's helpful should be legal, because when you're done, they fold you up and say goodbye."
Scott Long, sports writer and comedian, stated the following in his June 9, 2006 sports blog posted on www.baseballtoaster.com, titled "The Happy Hypocrite Takes on Jason Grimsley":
"Players have always looked for an edge... And why wouldn't they do this? I'm tired of so-called moralists acting outraged that players could do such a thing. Are you telling me that you wouldn't consider taking some substance if it potentially made you better? Especially if you were in a profession where 2.5 million dollars a year is the average salary. Especially if you knew that there would be no drug testing. Especially if you knew that many other workers in your field might possibly be getting an advantage over you...
I don't have any problem savoring the prose of Poe or Burroughs, even knowing they were junkies. I don't run from the room when I hear Nirvana or Alice in Chains rumbling through the speakers, just because their lead singers killed themselves using heroin... Personally, I don't have a big problem with some of baseball's greatest records being broken by athletes who are under suspicion as cheaters..."
Maxwell J. Mehlman, JD, Director of the Law-Medicine Center at Case Western Reserve University School of Law, wrote the following in his Aug. 11, 2004 article titled "What's Wrong with Using Drugs in Sports? Nothing," published in USA TODAY:
"There is nothing inherently wrong with athletes using relatively safe drugs. People simply find it distasteful. It offends their aesthetic sensibilities...
Tastes change, as perhaps they will when people realize that the ultimate justification for the policy against all drugs in sports is the same reason that we get upset when the neighbors paint their house purple.
John Oliver, television Host of Last Week Tonight on HBO, stated the following on his show on June 26, 2016:
"Despite rigorous [drug] testing, athletes are clearly slipping through the cracks for a number of reasons. For a start, there are multiple tests, and none of them can detect the full range of drugs and athlete might be on, from anabolic steroids to EPO to human growth hormone...
In a way, you can see why athletes might want to dope: a split second advantage can make the difference between winning and losing and there's a lot of money on the line for everyone…
You might be thinking, 'well, let's just give up, why don't we just let everyone dope,' but that is definitely not the answer. For a start, that could be very dangerous with athletes tempted to take greater and greater amounts to get the split-second edge. And, it could also potentially force clean athletes to dope, at which point you've pretty much destroyed the integrity of sport."
Mark Johnson, PhD, Sportswriter and Sports Photographer, stated the following in his 2016 book titled Spitting in the Soup: Inside the Dirty Game of Doping in Sports:
"[S]hould we throw up our hands... and admit that anti-doping is a hopelessly compromised holy war, a historically blind exercise in futility and evasion?
I don't think so, if only for one reason: elite athletes are role models whose actions affect consumer behavior... While the history of anti-doping is hip deep in ethical mire, the past need not condemn the project's future. The quest for a state of pure sports can still serve as a useful and inspirational model for society at large...
[S]ports' conflicted attempt to step away from the chemistry bad and stagger outside into the bright sunlight of some ideal of pure play is admirable because it is an effort confirm our basic humanity."
Thomas H. Murray, PhD, President of the Hastings Center, wrote the following in his 2008 chapter titled "Sports Enhancement" in From Birth to Death and Bench to Clinic: The Hastings Center Bioethics Briefing Book for Journalists, Policymakers, and Campaigns, published by The Hastings Center:
"There are several reasons to ban performance-enhancing drugs: respect for the rules of sports, recognition that natural talents and their perfection are the point of sports, and the prospect of an 'arms race' in athletic performance...
Sports that revere records and historical comparisons (think of baseball and home runs) would become unmoored by drug-aided athletes obliterating old standards. Athletes, caught in the sport arms race, would be pressed to take more and more drugs, in ever wilder combinations and at increasingly higher doses...
The drug race in sport has the potential to create a slow-motion public health catastrophe. Finally, we may lose whatever is most graceful, beautiful, and admirable about sport..."
Richard Callicott, former Chief Executive of UK Sport, stated in a Nov. 1, 2003 article titled "Yes or No? Question of the Week: Drugs in Sport," published in The Times (London):
"As the national anti-doping agency we will never accept this. Performance-enhancing drugs are not only prohibited because they violate the spirit of sport but because they can damage the health of athletes. The idea of allowing them in sport could lead to a situation whereby sportsmen and women are used as human guinea pigs for a constant flow of new, unregulated substances. The long-term effects don't bear thinking about."
Joe Lindsey, contributing writer for Bicycling magazine, wrote in an Oct. 23, 2008 email to ProCon.org:
[T]he school of thought that advocates legalizing doping, or holds that an athlete has the right to choose whether to endanger his health, is ignoring a completely separate ethical and legal question: should people have the right to use a substance that is not legal for human use under ANY circumstances? The answer cannot be anything other than 'No.' And if that is the case, then we have drawn a line where some substances are OK to take, and others are not. And if that's the case, then what's the difference, philosophically, in where that line is drawn - that more or less substances are deemed banned? The only difference is a world where the semblance of fair play remains, where sports remain the end product of hard work, determination and talent, and a world where sports becomes merely pharmaceutically fueled entertainment. We can choose that world if we like, but with the knowledge that the cost is sports as inspirational and transformative, indicative of the best traits of us as people. Choose that road, and sport is no longer sport, no more noble an endeavor than, say, 'The Apprentice.'"
Robert Housman, JD, Partner at Book Hill Partners consulting firm, and former Assistant Director for Strategic Planning in the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), in his Apr. 6, 2005 Washington Times article "Steroids and the Feds," wrote:
"Performance-enhancing drugs seriously risk the health and safety of users, especially young people. The risks of steroid use include: elevated cholesterol levels, increased incidence of heart disease, addiction, serious liver damage, sex-trait changes and often severe behavioral changes, particularly heightened aggressiveness. No victory is worth the damage these substances do to a person - just ask the parents who told the hearing their children committed suicide because of steroid use. Stars who use these dangerous drugs set a deadly example for children."
Timothy Noakes, MD, DSc, Discovery Health Professor of Exercise and Sports Science at the University of Cape Town, wrote in his Dec. 2006 article "Should We Allow Performance-Enhancing Drugs in Sport? A Rebuttal to the Article by Savulescu and Colleagues," published in the International Journal of Sports Science and Coaching:
"Sport is meant to be about honesty - what you see is all there is. Doping is part of an evil influence extending to match fixing and gambling that has always been a (hidden) part of professional sport, but which will likely ultimately destroy it. If we do not attempt to control this evil triad, professional sport finally distances itself from the mystical endeavour it is meant to be. Without the illusion that professional athletes are somewhat like ourselves, just better, their profession has no appeal. Rather, sport becomes no different from any other commercially driven activity."
Russell Meldrum, MD, Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at Indiana University School of Medicine, wrote the following in his Spring 2002 article titled "Drug Use by College Athletes: Is Random Testing an Effective Deterrent?," published in Sport Journal:
"Drug use is a serious concern, not only for the concepts of integrity and fair play in competitive sports, but because of the health threats to the athletes. Certainly drug testing programs should continue with increasing numbers of athletes being tested and increasing penalties for detection, since these are most likely means of deterrence. Drug education programs must also continue in a further attempt to curtail the use of illegal performance-enhancing drugs by empowering the young athlete with the information and skills to make responsible and healthy decisions."
Paul C. McCaffrey, JD, Law Associate at K&L Gates LLP, wrote the following in his 2006 article titled "Playing Fair: Why the United States Anti-Doping Agency's Performance-Enhanced Adjudications Should Be Treated as State Action," printed in the Washington University Journal of Law and Policy:
"The illicit use of performance-enhancing substances -- commonly referred to as 'doping' -- is irreconcilable with the spirit of sport.
The concept of fair play is central to both the 'spirit of sport' and due process. The use of illicit substances to enhance athletic performance is offensive to this concept."
Barack Obama, JD, US Senator (D-IL) at the time of the quote, in his Oct. 2, 2008 interview on ESPN's Radio show Mike & Mike in the Morning, stated [as transcribed by ProCon.org]:
"As a father and an avid sports fan, I understand the dangers that performance enhancing drugs pose for athletes, as well as the teenagers who seek to emulate them, not to mention the effect that these drugs have on the integrity of sports. As president, I would use the bully pulpit of my office to warn Americans about the dangers of performance enhancing drugs, and I would put greater resources into enforcement of existing drug laws. I would also convene a summit of the commissioners of the professional sports leagues, as well as university presidents, to explore options for decreasing the use of these drugs."
Robert Simon, PhD, Professor of Philosophy at Hamilton College, stated the following in a Dec. 9, 2004 live internet chat with USA Today readers titled "Drugs in Sports: Robert Simon":
"I would argue that prohibition [of performance enhancing drugs] is justified because (1) steroid use makes little sense if everyone uses; gains are minimal and everyone is exposed to the risks, (2) how your body reacts to a steroid is not an athletic talent like running or hitting, and (3) it's worth protecting the ideal of sport as a healthy pursuit."
Gary S. Becker, PhD, Professor in the Departments of Economics, Graduate School of Business, and Sociology at the University of Chicago, wrote in an Aug. 27, 2006 entry titled "Doping in Sports" on the Becker-Posner blog:
"While the case for banning various types of drugs and other enhancers is strong, the ability to control doping is limited. For there is a continuing battle between bans and the discovery of new enhancers that have not been banned...
The result is a fragile equilibrium between the banning of various substances, enforcement of bans, and the search for new substances and ways to evade bans on old substances. This is not a perfect outcome, but I believe it is on the whole better for competitive sports and for participants than a policy that allows all kinds of performance enhancers and stimulants."
Michael J. Beloff, QC, English barrister (British lawyer), wrote the following information in the article titled "Drugs, Laws and Versapaks," written as chapter four in John O'Leary's book Drugs and Doping In Sport, published in 2001:
"The objects of doping control are clear. The essence of a sporting contest is that it should be fairly conducted, with the competitor's success or failure being the result of natural talents: speed, skill, endurance, tactical awareness - honed, it may be, by instruction, training and body maintenance in its widest sense. The much used metaphor - a level playing field - derives from sport. The use of drugs violates all such notions of equality: the drug taker starts with an unfair advantage. Success becomes the product of the test tube, not the training track. The interests of innocent athletes need protection by punishment of the guilty."
Fred Bowen, JD, attorney at the US Department of Labor and Columnist for the Washington Post, wrote the following in his Apr. 18, 2008 article titled "It's a Dangerous Game," published in the Washington Post:
"Steroids are dangerous. They can hurt a player's heart, liver and other parts of his body. Some doctors also think players are tearing more tendons and ligaments because their bulked-up muscles have gotten too big for their bodies.
And no one knows for sure how steroids may affect a player's health over the long run. Players may be risking their lives for a chance to be bigger and stronger today...
Millions of kids still dream about playing in the major leagues. They have posters of Nomar Garciaparra, Barry Bonds and Randy Johnson on their bedroom walls. MLB is setting the worst possible example and sending the worst possible message to kids by doing nothing about steroid use. Baseball is telling kids that they may have to take dangerous and illegal drugs if they want to reach their dreams of playing in the big leagues."
Don H. Catlin, MD, Founder and CEO of Anti-Doping Research, stated the following in a Dec. 12, 2004 article titled "The Steroid Detective, published in US News and World Report:
"If you try to get every last little cheater, you're going to be pretty frustrated. There are always going to be ways to beat testing. But if you don't test, sport is gone, it really is. Then you might say, well, OK, everybody is going to be on drugs, and they will all be equal again. But people will start getting really sick. All these things are toxic."
Craig Lord, Swimming Correspondent at The Times, in a May 2, 2008 Swimmers World magazine article titled "You Wearing The Right (Wrong) Suit And Genes?," wrote:
"Among some there is an attitude of resignation and self-justification that drugs are just part of sport. They're not. They are part of cheating, part of dirty sport, part of everything that the Olympic spirit is not... As things stand, the more the public take hold of the idea that Marion Jones [disqualified American Olympic Gold Medalist for the use of steroids] was the tip of the iceberg, the less faith they will have in Olympic sports, the less keen they will be to send their kids to the pool, the smaller the audience will become... A sport is as good as the authenticity of its assets."
Gary Wadler, MD, Chairman of the World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) Prohibited List and Methods Sub-Committee, stated the following in an Oct. 20, 1999 prepared statement for the hearing on "Effects of Performance Enhancing Drugs on the Health of Athletes and Athletic Competition," before the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation:
"Doping is a matter of ethics, which affects not only Olympic athletes but also youth, high school, college and professional athletes. The fact is doping threatens to undermine the ethical and physical well being of children...
We cannot allow performance-enhancing drugs to undermine the Olympic Movement. We cannot allow another generation of young people to approach adulthood with a pervading sense of cynicism, and a belief in the power of chemical manipulation rather than the power of character...
New doping control measures must be rooted in sport ethics and values; they must flow from athlete agreement; they must respect athletes' rights to privacy; and they must be independently, accountably and fairly administered..."
Donald M. Fehr, JD, Executive Director of the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA), stated the following in his written statement for the hearing on "Drugs in Sports: Compromising the Health of Athletes and Undermining the Integrity of Competition," before the US House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection on Feb. 27, 2008:
"The Major League Baseball Players Association does not condone or support the use by players - or by anyone else - of any unlawful substance, nor do we support or condone the unlawful use of any legal substance. I cannot put it more plainly. The unlawful use of any substance is wrong.
Moreover, the Players are committed to dispelling any suggestion that the route to becoming a Major League athlete somehow includes taking illegal performance enhancing substances, such as steroids. It does not take a physician to recognize that steroids are powerful drugs that no one should fool around with. This is particularly true for children and young adults, as the medical research makes clear that illegal steroid use can be especially harmful to them.
Playing Major League Baseball requires talent, drive, intelligence, determination, and grit. Steroids and other unlawful performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) have no place in the game."
Frank Deford, Senior Contributing Writer at Sports Illustrated, stated the following in his Oct. 29, 2003 article titled "Dope and Glory: Why Don't Fixed Bodies Provoke the Same Outrage as Fixed Games?," published in Sports Illustrated:
"Doping is to sport very much like terrorism is to nations. It is insidious. OK, there's a lot of bad stuff that's always gone on in sports. But, at the core, we are always drawn to the physical majesty of the young men and women who do wondrous things with their bodies. Sport is art, aesthetics -- tabulated. We are outraged at games that are fixed. Drugs fix bodies. It's the same thing, and we know it."
Paul Finkelman, PhD, President William McKinley Distinguished Professor of Law and Public Policy at Albany Law School stated the following in his Dec. 11, 2007 article titled "Baseball, Steroids, Bonds, and Balco," published by the Huffington Post:
"I would love to see steroids banned from sports. They are unhealthy and physically dangerous. They are a Faustian bargain - offering immediate success for the price of an athlete's body, if not his or her soul. Worse yet, young kids who have no judgment and only see the glory of a Bonds home run are rushing to use them. In the process they are jeopardizing their health to make the team, get the college scholarship, and maybe make it to the pros."
Lou Gorman, former General Manager of the Boston Red Sox, stated the following in his 2007 book High and Inside: My Life in the Front Offices of Baseball:
"There is absolutely no question whatsoever that baseball has to take dramatic action to address the use of steroids or any other performance enhancing drugs, since the use of steroids is, in essence, cheating. Players who have used steroids or other drugs to increase and enhance their performances are cheating and they have created an unfair and illegal playing field."
The International Olympic Committee wrote the following in the Olympic Oath, which is recited by athletes at the start of every Olympic Games, most recently updated in Dec. 1999 and available at Olympic.org:
"In the name of all the competitors I promise that we shall take part in these Olympic Games, respecting and abiding by the rules which govern them, committing ourselves to a sport without doping and without drugs, in the true spirit of sportsmanship, for the glory of sport and the honour of our teams.”
Richard Pound, BCL, former President of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), stated the following in a Jan. 19, 2003 article titled "The Enforcer," posted on CBC Sports Online:
"Well, sports is so important to so many people, particularly young people, and it's a precursor to how you're going to behave in other aspects of social intercourse. You look around the world today and what have you got? The accounting profession is in the tank. You've got the business community in the tank. You've got the Enrons. You've got political shortcuts and all these kind of things, that it's very important to have some kind of activity where you can say to people 'this is on the level.' You respect the rules, you respect your opponents, you respect yourself. You play fair. I think that bleeds over into life as well. I don't want my grandchildren to have to become chemical stockpiles in order to be good at sports and to have fun at it. Baseball, take your kid out to the ballpark some day and you say, 'Son, some day if you ingest enough of this sh[*!], you might be a player on that field, too.' It's a completely antithetical view to what sport should have been in the first place. It's essentially a humanistic endeavour to see how far you can go on your own talent."
Bud Selig, Jr., Commissioner of Major League Baseball, wrote the following in his Jan. 15, 2008 "Statement of Commissioner Allan H. Selig before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform," posted on MLB.com:
"Our athletes, prospective ballplayers and our youth must come to understand that the use of performance enhancing substances is illegal, it is cheating, it does long term damage to an athlete's health, and it puts at risk an athlete's reputation and integrity. Baseball will continue to enhance its efforts in this area...
Some have described the use of performance enhancing substances in sports as an 'arms race' between the chemists and the cheaters, on the one hand, and the honest players, the leagues and the testers on the other hand. Each is continually improving its methods to obtain an advantage over the other. Well, if this is such a war, then as Commissioner of Baseball I am committed to arm the side of honesty and fair play by funding laboratory research to detect the illegal use of these substances so that drug users will be caught and the cloud of suspicion over honest players will be lifted."
Joe Biden, JD, US Vice President, wrote the following statements in an op-ed article first published by the Hartford Courant on Mar. 17, 2005:
"In 1990, when I was chairman of the Judiciary Committee, I wrote the Anabolic Steroids Control Act, which added 'anabolic steroids' to Schedule Three of the Controlled Substances Act and began to list a host of substances falling within that definition. In 2004, I proposed legislation to update that law and added the substances 'THG' and 'Andro,' and their chemical cousins, to the list of anabolic steroids.
The reasons for these changes were simple: these substances not only pose great health risks, but they threaten the fundamental integrity of sport and send the wrong message to our kids – that cheating to get ahead is acceptable, no matter the cost.
So I worked hard to ban these substances, educate our youth and professional athletes, and reduce this wrongful behavior in American sports."
Jose Canseco, former Major League Baseball player, in the Mar. 17, 2005 hearing on "Restoring Faith in America's Pastime: Evaluating Major League Baseball's Efforts to Eradicate Steroid Use," before the US House of Representatives Committee on Government Reform, stated:
"I do not condone or encourage the use of any particular drugs, medicine, or illegal substances in any aspect of life...
The pressure associated with winning games, pleasing fans, and getting the big contract, led me, and others, to engage in behavior that would produce immediate results. This is the same pressure that leads the youth of today, other athletes and professionals, to engage in that same behavior. The time has come to address this issue and set the record straight about what risks are involved in that behavior...
As I sit here today I would be remiss if I did not again stress that I do not condone the use of any drugs or illegal substances...I hope that my message will be received as it is intended, that we, as professional athletes, are no better than anyone else. We just have a special ability that permits us to play ball. We should not be held up to any higher standard of behavior than any other mother or father."