Legal issues related to the development of the medication and tools to boost the performance of athletes and other sportsmen is gaining more and more steam with the growing concern of the affect that steroids can have on individual performance. Mass communication and media sources raise ethical issues, related to the fact that use of steroids only shows individual weaknesses and inability to compete “honestly”. Governmental and international regulations, however, took a different paths imposing fines and making regulations stricter in regards to the consumption of performance boosters.
Steroid comprises various types of drugs used in sport for altering and boosting biological system of the body. This essay will not focus on any specific drug type and will rather look at the conceptual idea of steroid use in sports and ethical dilemma of whether it is right or wrong to allow steroids in sports.
The thesis for the research and the document as a whole can be summarized in the following question:
What are the rules of fair play and how can we determine as from where medical intervening becomes cheating?
The idea behind this work is to provide qualitative analysis of the question and prove that drug (or steroid) consumption by itself is a breakage of rule and moral values. It should be very clear that anything that can in any sense influence and improve performance of an individual, except training and his or her actual physical shape should be strictly prohibited, as it contradicts with moral and ethical values of professional sports.
In fact, consumption of steroid is the breakage of the very nature of sports that brings competition and contest on the level of abnormal fight between various advancements of the medicine and science. What really matters is the spirit and nature of the human being that build on the values and concept of any sport. With that in mind, any involvement of external power should deemed unnecessary and even prohibited.
The major concern of this discussion as of how to conceptualize the understanding of the sports as a competitive environment and how this competition should be evaluated from the moral point of view. When evaluating the extent to which steroids are illegal and should be restricted, it is remarkable to see the variety of opinions and conflict of interests not only between sportsmen and their trainers with the regulatory institutions, but also within these institutions and the governments themselves (Simon, 1991, p.14).
One of the strongest arguments in favour of the statement of illegal and “cheating” nature of steroids lays in the very structure of the drugs and their effect on our bodies. It is scientifically proven that steroids impact our performance by combination of physical and biological factors that could not be achieved, should the person be free of drugs. With that in mind, we can conclude that by using steroids, competition between people becomes stirred and sport competition as a whole loses its initial meaning(Mottram, 2003, pp.91-94).
The first real scandal raised by the use of steroids dates back to the 1988, when during Winter Olympic Games in Korea, when Ben Johnson, Canadian sportsmen was accused in illegal consumption of drugs that boosted his performance (Simon, 1991, p.71). Since then this topic occupied main lines of many magazines and journals and was debated and spoken through in a great variety of contexts in media and other mass media sources. Once everyone started to talk about the effect of the drug consumption and legal implication of these action, the other side of the social community turned into ethical and moral aspects of this occurrence. Repetitive cases of drug consumption kept feeding the news and minds with additional considerations and cases that could be used to evaluate the morality and ethic level of the steroid consumption.
All types of performance –enhancing drugs have proven to have negative effect on the health of individuals and in a long-rn can result in dependence and significant reduction in the performance and functioning of athletes bodies. Looking at the question of legality and ethical approval of the steroids, this factor should play a significant role for those who have power to make decisions.
Another argument that is widely discussed in among scientists and researchers of this question is the fact that those , who choose to use steroids drive other sportsmen to the same decision as it becomes the only possible way to achieve same level of performance. Thus, to which extent are athletes really free to choose whether to use or avoid steroids? Probably not. In this case regulatory measures should provide them with this choice by making drug consumption in sports strictly prohibited.
One can argue that we are living in free and liberal society and each and everyone should be able to express his freedom of thought and action until it limits someone else’s freedom. I this case, these individuals should, in theory, be able to decide on how they will compete and in what way they will involve medical advancements in their competitive structure. I strongly believe, however, that by consuming steroids, sportsmen take out the right and freedom of those, who they compete with. Given the fact, it turns into the question of morality and liberality and, therefore, should receive adequate attention in academic institutions and governance structures of international sport and local activities.
According to Simon, a sport is an excellence for challenge and excellence is only available and achievable through individual performance and target of perfection. Sport has impressively long and beautiful history, playing significant role in development of culture and traditions of nations and countries (Benham, 2006, p.806). Why should we change this perfect picture of sports by intentional undermining of human ability to compete? There is no doubt that science and art become more and more interrelated and the it is almost impossible to avoid their influence on each other. We are, however, capable to make this influence constructive and build on the advancements and development that both, art and science, have achieved up to now. Steroid consumption is extremely destructive occurrence of today’s society and can be put on the same line with global concern of drug trade and use. It is important that we recognize this issue and aligned in our wish to clean sport and the world from drugs.
Mottram D.R. (2003) Drugs in Sport London, Routledge.
Denham B.E. (2006) Effects of Mass Communication on Attitudes toward Anabolic Steroids: an Analysis of High School Seniors. Journal of Drug Issues. Volume: 36. Issue: 4. Florida State University for and on behalf of The Florida State University Board of Trustees
Simon R.L (1991). Fair Play: Sports, Values, and Society Boulder, CO, Westview Press.