Steroids

Congress has subpoenaed seven baseball players to testify about steroid use in major league baseball. This is a result of the recent BALCO scandal that implicated sprinter Marion Jones, Barry Bonds, Jason Giambi among others and the recent publication of Jose Canseco’s book alleging steroid use by several stars including Mark McGwire. Given the current debates on our fiscal crisis, the Iraqi war, social security, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, North Korea, outsourcing and so on, aren’t there more important things for Congress to do? I love sports and baseball as much as the other guy but come on it’s just a game.

I believe that international sporting bodies must accept that medical enhancement will only increase in the future and there is virtually no chance to completely stop it. If they ever get gene therapy to work we’ll be in real trouble. I think testing for cheating is the wrong strategy. What we will eventually need to do is to set physiological standards that athletes cannot exceed. So everyone is allowed up to some level of testosterone, human growth hormone, myostatin, red blood cells and so forth. You can do whatever you want to get to these standards but you can’t go beyond. I suppose those that exceed the standards “naturally” would be able to petition the governing body to obtain an exemption. I agree that this would take away something from sport but in some sense it also levels the playing field. After all, isn’t being born with better genes an advantage?

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