Should human growth hormone (HGH) use be accepted in sports?
Shannon J. Owens, sports columnist for the Orlando Sentinel, wrote the following statements in a June 9, 2008 article titled "An Alternative View on HGH and Sports Athletes," posted on the website hgh.tv:
"[R]ather than tying up our federal government in lengthy investigations and spending tax dollars to support poorly administered [HGH] tests, let's just eliminate the chase.
Give athletes of legal adult age the choice to juice or inject as they so please. Require those athletes to go public and make them wear an asterisk next to their Nike, Reebok or adidas running gear. Then, etch the asterisk into their gold medals. Heck, make those athletes run in 'juiced' competitions...
Don't punish athletes for allowing themselves to be sacrificial lambs in their tortured pursuit of happiness. Let them and their supporters stand boldly before the world for their decisions."
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":
hormone) is [used] more to recover from injury... I haven't heard of
growth hormone giving you strength... 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."
The Institute of Sociological Research, an Israeli organization that publishes articles on various topics, wrote the following information in the article "Why Is HGH Illegal in Sports?" (accessed Dec. 15, 2008):
"[T]here is a clear difference between steroids which gets you stronger and human growth hormone HGH which heals you. MLB needs to think about what [they're] banning and take in consideration the health of [their] players. This can go out to all of the leagues in the professional sports business, especially high paid contact sports like football and hockey. HGH... can increase your recovery overall and... recovery speed. Star players who generate money and ticket stands... can get injured quickly. Human growth hormone is... highly recommendable if prescribed by a professional. Also... it can increase the muscle tissue and even make [muscles] stronger then before... Its positive effects can easily out weigh its side effects. In sports, it can be used to create a safe environment for contacts and injury extensions. If taken into consideration it can... extend careers in every sport."
Sean Crowe, sports writer for Examiner.com who specializes in the New England Patriots, made the following statements in the June 30, 2008 article titled "PEDs in Sports: Why Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens Should Be in the Hall of Fame," published by BleacherReport.com:
"Today, there is no test for HGH. The only way an athlete gets caught doing HGH is if the government happens to arrest the guy who sold it to him. Even if they catch your 'doctor,' they can't prove you did HGH beyond any reasonable doubt unless you admit to it.
So, is it really fair to punish anyone for doing HGH when, for all you know, everyone is doing it? Is it really fair to punish players for taking a substance when you'll never have a failed test to prove they took it?...
How many... athletes are still taking HGH today? We don't know. We can't know. There is no test. It could be everybody. It could be nobody.
The only fair thing to do is to take any substance you can't test for off the banned substance list. You can’t police what you can't catch.
And really, who's going to care? The fans want to see bone-crunching hits, home-runs, power-dunks, and hat-tricks. We pretend we care, but we don't. The only people you're going to piss off by doing this are those in Congress."
Rick Ross, Slip-N-Slide Records rapper, stated in a Mar. 25, 2008 interview titled "Rick Ross Supports Cheating Obama and HGH," posted on YouBeenBlinded.com:
"What's wrong with a little HGH? You're 35 years old, let's take
Shaq for instance. That's my best friend. His hip, his knee... He's 30
something years, jumpin' up and down. What's wrong with a little HGH?
C'mon, yall know Mark McGuire was only hitting 15 home runs a
year, then overnight they went to 60 a season... But he did it for the
game. I stopped watching baseball til HGH came back. So y'all gotta keep
it real. What y'all wanna do? Y'all wanna get money, y'all wanna sell
hotdogs, y'all wanna sell memorabilia, gotta hit home runs..."
Michael Giltz, freelance pop culture and politics writer, wrote the following information in the Feb. 18, 2008 article titled "Andy Pettitte Fails to Take Responsibility," published by The Huffington Post:
"Using HGH to recover from an injury gives you an edge over other teams - It gives your team an edge over other teams who have pitchers that are injured but refuse to cheat and break the law in order to recover more quickly. Using HGH to recover from an injury gives you an edge over your own teammates - Pitchers are working together to win games but they're also in competition. If [a pitcher] is injured, that gives another pitcher a chance to start a major league game. It might even mean the chance for a minor leaguer to come up to the majors. And that means another minor leaguer might get a chance to jump from Double A ball to Triple A ball to fill their slot... [HGH is] AGAINST FEDERAL LAW. Baseball has a morals clause - anything that brings disgrace to the game of baseball is against the rules. Cheating is cheating... Using HGH is cheating. Period."
William N. Taylor, MD, former Physician Crew Chief of the United States Olympic Committee Drug Education Program, wrote the following information in the Oct. 1985 article titled "Growth Hormone: Preventing Its Abuse in Sports," and published by Technology Review:
"[T]here seems to be little doubt that chronic administration of hGH... could result in supranormal growth. I call this condition 'selective gigantism,' and there is some evidence that it exists among a few abnormally tall athletes in the Eastern Bloc... Although I have yet to see evidence of 'selective gigantism' in the
United States, adult American athletes are using hGH obtained on the
black market in increasing numbers... Apart from the possible long-term health hazards, this kind of abuse also gives some athletes an unfair advantage in competition. For both reasons, it should be curtailed."
Gary I. Wadler, MD, Chairman of the World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) Prohibited List and Methods Sub-Committee, was quoted as having said the following in a June 27, 2008 interview titled "Dr. Gary Wadler of the World Anti-Doping Agency Gives His Answers to Your Questions (Part II)," published by The New York Times:
"There are those who are of the mind
that there is nothing wrong with using or even encouraging the use of
performance-enhancing drugs such as... hGH. Obviously, I strongly
disagree with such a premise. Sport is a contest in character, not in
chemistry or pharmacology. Not only is doping dangerous to one's
health, it blatantly violates the spirit of sport, and at least in the
United States, the use of... hGH for performance enhancement violates
should also be mindful, that health and legal issues aside, all sports
are governed by rules and for almost all sports, the use of
performance-enhancing substances and methods is prohibited. If you
choose not to abide by the rules, don't play the game..."
Charles Schumer, US Senator (D-NY), before the Feb. 28, 2007 US senate session, made the following comments while speaking on behalf of Senate Bill 877 - Controlling the Abuse of Prescriptions Act of 2007:
"No one disputes that HGH has some important medical uses - adults with AIDS, children with serious kidney disease can benefit from small, carefully administered doses of HGH. But in the wrong hands, HGH can lead to serious problems. Some of the worst side effects include cancer, heart disease, gigantism, impotence, menstrual problems, and arthritis... If a sports star says it is OK to illegally take... HGH... it is almost certain children will follow. We have to make sure dangerous substances can only get to the small number of people who need them... The widespread growth of human growth hormone in Major League Baseball has put a cloud [over] our national pastime."
Christian Strasburger, MD, Professor of Medicine and Chief of Clinical Endocrinology at Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, wrote the following information in a 2007 Question and Answer article titled "The Researcher's Perspective," published in the second issue of Play True:
"HGH has... been used widespread because it was considered undetectable and the known physiological effects of growth hormone are muscle building as well as lipolytic and therefore providing energy substrates which cheating athletes obviously fancy... If clean athletes are to compete on a level playing field, then hGH detection must be implemented."