Editor of The CEO Report at United Communications Group (UCG)
Pro to the question "Should Performance Enhancing Drugs (Such as Steroids) Be Accepted in Sports?"
"...Jose Canseco's book [Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits, and How Baseball Got Big (2000)] makes a rare and sustained argument in favor of steroids (and substances often used in conjunction with steroids, such as human growth hormone). Coming at a time of full-blown moral panic, with grandstanding senators trampling athletes' privacy rights and the media blaming steroids for everything from brain cancer to suicide, Canseco's position was a welcome one. It's a shame he didn't have the guts to stick with it...
Much of the animus toward steroids assumes that they stand apart from all other forms of training--that they are ugly, artificial, and alien to a culture of hard work and honest sweat. But the athlete's project has always been body modification and specialization, and when modern technology impacts elite sports, it doesn't stop at the outer layer of the player's skin. Trying to distinguish natural from artificial methods of training makes less and less sense by the year...
If players don't get the desired performance out of diet, diagnostics, and exercise, there's always surgery. Consider Tommy John surgery, a ligament transplant invented for baseball players and named for the first pitcher to undergo the procedure. It has advanced to the point that the Chicago Cubs' Kerry Wood actually picked up velocity on his pitches after wrecking his arm and having the surgery. In the March 2005 Wired, Steven Johnson notes that, 'To date, pitchers have opted for the surgery only after suffering ligament damage, but elective-enhancement surgery in baseball is inevitable--and it will show up in lots of other professional sports, too.' Johnson also notes that batters hoping to improve their pitch recognition skills can choose another elective procedure: laser eye surgery.
In short, sports technology isn't just for golf club shafts and running shoes. It's for muscles, ligaments, and organs, and it's getting more sophisticated all the time. If such technologies are available to everyone and if the health risks are low--or lower, at least, then getting pulverized by a bulky baserunner sprinting toward home plate--then why single out steroids?"