Were anabolic steroids banned from baseball in the early 2000's? You know, the years that Bonds and ARod supposedly took anabolic steroids.Were they banned like the moral indignity called "gambling on baseball games that one manages" ala a certain potential hall of famer? Getting away somewhat from baseball rules, anabolic steroids, at least some of them, were/are hormones, available as drugs that were/are legally prescribed by physicians for certain medical indications. What if some of the players who tested positive in 2003 were prescribed anabolic steroids by their physician as a legit therapy to aid in the healing of a skeletal muscle injury? Would we not hate them so much? OK, ARod's cousin was/is not a licensed physician, at least not in this country. It seems that in the reality described by Jose Conseco, he somewhat downplays the legit steroid prescription as the preferred method that players obtained these federally controlled performance enhancers.
We all know that labs like Balco have been accused of making new improved, and probably not legally approved substances which essentially were/are anabolic steroids. New drugs must undergo years of research to prove that they are safe and effective before the FDA allows them on the market. But we still need to know why these substances are banned.
I think there are a few reason's besides the fact that they are usually obtained by less than optimal and legally legit methods. The drugs have been demonized, righty or wrongly as having terrible side-effects. Some of those proferred include premature heart attacks, "Roid rage" , cancer, benign growths in the liver, infertility, scrotal shrinkage, head enlargement, weight gain, obnoxious behavior, premature death, just to name a few. Lyle Alzado blamed his disease and his then impending premature demise on anabolic steroids. Recently, it has been reported that several monstorously large pro-wresters have had some of the worst of these bad effects.
But how many baseball players so far, have had these horrible effects? Is one of the bad effects lying to Congress? These substances have been around for a long time. Just ask California's Governor. Could be some players from as far back as the 1960's or 1970's could have been indulging.
Maybe its the massive amounts some players take that makes it unsafe. You know, like taking 2 tylenol can help your fever, or maybe your pain, but taking a bottle full of them can kill you. Maybe its taking street drugs, because they are so hard to get otherwise that makes them so unsafe. Are all these baseball players going to be dropping dead soon from these anabolic steroids? Or have these substances been not as dangerous as we have been led to believe? I don't know the answer to that, but maybe some folks hanging out in the Cove have some real scientific facts.
One must wonder, if a surgery can enhance your performance, (a legal surgery), why shouldn't a legal drug be able to enhance your performance? Obviously people aren't getting black market surgeries, but the black market becomes the method of distribution for anabolic steroids precisely because they are banned. Are surgeons more ethical than pharmacologists? Ok stupid question, but I get to write pharmacologist. If normal doses of anabolic steroids are relatively safe: At least as safe as surgery, and may even help a player heal from surgery, why should they be illegal or banned from major league players who are given a true risk assessment and then prescribed the drug by their physician?
Ok, so far I haven't even convinced myself of the above arguments, but they are certainly offered as legit arguments. Then comes the one argument that says, "What about the kids?" These players are role models, and kids, (those under 18) might take these substances to basicly cheat, and clearly we do not know the long term effects of these drugs when given to teens or preteens. We sometimes assume that the pressure on these kids to perform, and be better then the next kid, would make them succumb to taking these anabolic steroids. This becomes an even greater risk if their MLB baseball hero is also taking steroids. So baseball bans these drugs as a responsible business to protect the kids.
So, dangerous side effects, cheating, unfair competitive advantage, black market distribution, and sending a bad message to kids, are all among the reasons baseball bans these substances. Maybe we also do not like the idea that a little magic pill, or injection can make a baseball player better and cause the resultant player to break records which supposedly otherwise would not have been broken.
I am very unclear on whether these substances should be banned from baseball if they are legitimately prescibed by a licensed physician for an appropriate medical indication. On the other hand, if the drugs are obtained on the black market, and are being solely used for the purpose of a competitive advantage, without any otherwise legitimate medical indication for their use, I would probably go along with the ban.