Machiavelli has a theory that “ends justify the means” which means a person may do whatever they need to do as long as their outcome has some meaning. In sports some believe that taking steroids is the right thing to do. Then there is also the group that believes that taking steroids is morally wrong. From an ethical/moral standpoint, players who use steroids are cheating and living a lie, garnering success and prospering from illegal substances. Users who buy into Machiavelli’s theory go against society’s standards of rewarding hard work and discipline.
When you take steroids you do not use hard work and discipline to reach your physical status. Taking steroids is a harm that reaches far beyond one’s body, but into one’s soul. It is morally wrong to cheat for a living. Those who oppose the illegality and immorality of performance-enhancing drugs maintain that professional athletes should have the right to use steroids because steroids are no different from any other technology or substance that enables athletes to compete at high levels.
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Although advances in technology in sports have been made that only allows the sports to become more competitive. One’s body is not a piece of equipment that can be used, abused, and replaced. Using enhancers such as, anabolic steroids, allows beings to become almost super human an act of immorality. In Steve Yuhas’ essay, “The Steroid Scandal in Baseball has been Overblown,” he explains a profound understanding that steroids cannot increase the abilities of an athlete. Overall steroids do not help the abilities taught to professional athletes or athletes in general.
Yuhas states that “Yes, they can become stronger and their biceps may grow to the size of a normal person’s thigh, but that doesn’t make them able to hit a small ball with a thin bat and it certainly doesn’t make a football player throw more accurately or kick the ball through the uprights with more precision” (Yuhas 2). Abilities are taught and learned. Steroids do not help the ability of the athlete. He is a believer of Machiavelli’s theory; he believes that an athlete does not have to work hard to achieve a mentally and physically stronger body when they can just pop a pill to do the work for them.
Yuhas’ argues, “There seems to be a […] scale of morality involved in steroids that is absent from any other substance. Popping a pill to render a child more productive in school or to make a fat person thin is great; sucking the fat out of a woman’s behind or injecting a forehead with botox is simply cosmetic upkeep, but put something in your body that makes you more competitive in your livelihood and it is somehow morally corrupt” (Yuhas 2). Although Yuhas makes a substantial argument there is a thin line between what is morally wrong and what is right.
Athletes use steroids to become stronger to earn more money and fame for themselves. Society looks upon steroid use as an immoral judgment. Steroid use for athletes is a selfish and greedy act. People may use botox to prevent “Father Time”, but that is not a reason for professional athletes, who are role models to so many, to use steroids. A human beings competitive livelihood is apparent to all. When someone wants to become the best they are willing to work hard for it and not cheat. When you use steroids you do not become the greatest athlete, but you do become the worst.
Despite the recent problems with steroid use in professional sports, especially baseball, steroid restrictions have not been enforced hard enough on the athletes. Steroids used by one-person gives them an advantage over those who do not use performance enhancers. Due to steroid use, sports records held by elite athletes are being broken by false feats that are only achieved by using an enhancer, and enforcing steroid use in professional sports gives young athletes a better understanding of how dangerous enhancers actually are.
Aside from personal harm to the user, steroid use is detrimental to fellow players as well as fans. Many things can be included as an immoral act but in today’s society steroid use is a main point on what is morally wrong. Baseball is an American pastime and ruining the game is a bad example to all Americans. Americans have a livelihood for competition, from clinching the World Series to who can belch the loudest. Our conscience urges competition to an extreme that makes the littlest of things very big.
While performance-enhancing drugs enhance an athlete’s skill sets, they devalue and alter competition. When you go to a baseball game you only want to see a few things, which include that huge homerun by your favorite player and the win to your favorite team. Some would argue that using steroids will allow more homeruns to players and would make baseball games more entertaining. Well those few people may be right but then the game would not be competitive. If you go to a game and each team hits five to eight homeruns apiece the urge to see homeruns and watch the game would be ruined.
Records are always broken, each decade a more outstanding athlete emerges and they begin at a record pace and break great athletic records. Records are something to glorify, Babe Ruth had the record homeruns in a season, then a few years later that was broken by another player, Roger Marris. As the game began to become more competitive in both aspects of pitching and hitting records were difficult to break. Hitters began to hit the long ball harder and further, the change in the athletes muscle mass was exponential but players and the MLB did not care.
Baseball had many fans, as Mark McGwire had been his record-breaking homerun pace. His record was set by a lie as he attested to using steroids during that record breaking year and his lie caused much hurt to fans as it had embarrassed the franchise. Later Barry Bonds broke the record and broke the all time homeruns in a career passing Hank Aaron. Not long after that he was accused of using steroids and then again a franchise was embarrassed. The pressure on baseball players is indirect; it comes twice a month, on paydays.
The big money goes to guys who hit thirty homers, not the ones who hit thirty doubles. It pays to be strong; it is almost like an animalistic behavior. Only the strongest survive. Are athletes the role models needed for American youth? Many young athletes have their favorite player in whichever sport they partake in. Seeing their idol admitting to using steroids could possibly corrupt their mind in believing that steroid use is the right thing to do to become a stronger and better athlete.
Beyond any possible benefits of steroid use lies the dangerous issue of health. In many cases, athletes (especially young athletes) are so focused on success in a professional sport that they are ignoring the glaring consequences of steroid use. In actuality, the price of steroid use and abuse is high; much higher a price than any lucrative contract or marketing deal. “The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that heart attacks, strokes, and live cancer are the more serious life-threatening effects of steroid abuse.
Side effects for male users include acne, hair-loss, development of breasts, shrinking testicles, and impotence. ” (qtd. In Fletcher D4). Yet another way in which steroids harm the user is through increased susceptibility to injuries. One theory is that players are overwhelming their bodies with rapid muscle growth. Players who use steroids to gain a competitive advantage over peers and opponents pressure others, including youth, to use performance-enhancing substances. If they too want to win and remain competitive, they must use steroids as well.
In baseball, as with all professional sports, income, fame, and marketability depend on success and impressive feats of athleticism. The pressure and increased incentive to “bulk up” is evident. “The average size of a major-league player was a pretty standard 6-foot-1, 185 pounds for at least 30 years, until the early 1990s. Today, the average player is 6-foot-1, 200 pounds, and most teams have players who weigh in at 240 pounds or more. ” (West 22). Bigger players hit more home runs and sign lucrative contracts and endorsement deals.
Because of this, more players want to be bigger. As more and more players are tainted by steroids it begins to affect more and more of the youth that watches sports. Steroids have directly affected the biggest fans in baseball, America’s youth. Besides cheapening statistics and athletic accomplishments, the use of performance-enhancing drugs has tarnished the general image of baseball. Instead of a game that encourages healthy competition, it is one that resembles a pharmacological trade show, where the effects of steroids are put on display.
Baseball is known as “America’s pastime”. It holds a special place in American society. The values of society are reflected in the values of its most popular and revered cultural pastimes. When the message is sent that it is acceptable to have a drug problem in sport, it is akin to saying that this staple of American culture is reflective of a drug problem in society. Some would argue that baseball is a reflection of a culture mired in drugs and a society that is lacking quality role models for its youth.
One of the biggest blows to baseball’s image came in August 2005 when slugger Rafael Palmeiro, who has collected over 3,000 hits and has hit nearly 600 home runs during his career, tested positive for steroids. ” (Fletcher D1). The former first baseman for the Baltimore Orioles was booed relentlessly and was told by the team after the season he would no longer be part of the team. Palmeiro is since retired; his hall-of-fame numbers are still in question. As we have seen, the use of performance-enhancing drugs in sport, specifically baseball, is an immoral practice.
As seen steroid use does in fact directly affects fans and the teammates that the player plays with. Drug testing baseball players cannot be foolproof. In fact, all the testing does is keep players from using optimal dosages and encourage them to find ways to mask the drugs. The only infallible test for steroid use is a player’s moral compass. As soon as players identify not using steroids as a moral obligation, for both personal reasons and beyond, the game of baseball and its once-great warriors will return to the apex of the sporting world.