Lately I’ve heard and read a few arguments that the sporting world should just throw in the towel on performance enhancing drugs. Let athletes use what athletes are gonna use; end the cat-and-mouse game between detection and evasion.
Can’t get on board with that. In a hyper-competitive environment, lifting the ban would put “clean” players at a competitive disadvantage. It would encourage them to use PEDs when they wouldn’t otherwise, at potentially significant risk to their long-term health.
And the knock-on effects of allowing steroids and other PEDs could be tremendous. There’s already a problem with high school age kids using these substances to gain an edge in hope of grabbing the brass ring of a career in professional athletics. The vast majority will not make it, no matter what they take, and they risk their well-being even more than pros, because they don’t have any supervision or medical consultation.
Obviously, “cleaning up the game” is not easy, and it may be impossible to completely eliminate the use of PEDs. But that doesn’t mean that throwing in the towel is the right response. That just hurts the clean player and encourages reckless use by teenagers who can’t appreciate the risks they are taking.