I have gathered a few commonly-held beliefs on why steroids should not be in sports and added some thoughts.
Steroids make athletes cheaters
That is true due to how the rules are currently set. Since we have created a framework where taking steroids means cheating, there will never be a way for one to take steroids and not cheat.
Unfortunately, the reality is that, because of the high stakes and the potential for higher returns, some athletes choose to take steroids. Instead of taking a step back, analysing what’s causing this behaviour and potentially adapting to it, society continues to stick to this judgment. We may punish one athlete, we may punish a few athletes, but we won’t get rid of what enables this.
What about the kids?
What about them? We were all kids, at one point, but I’m certain not all of us took steroids.
Two factors are always important for a child's growth: education (both in school and at home) and society. We should teach kids, in school, in an objective way, the pros and cons of steroids (along with a multitude of other things, like critical thinking). Beyond that, you have a responsibility to teach your kids, at home, as all parents should, about steroids (along with a multitude of other things), so we end up creating a framework for our society in which taking steroids doesn’t bring any kind of perceived advantage (specifically, in the context of competitive sports).
Steroids, in sports, are immoral
Immorality is a perceived violation of societal laws, norms or standards. Going back to the first point, yes, if steroids continue to be illegal, they will also be immoral. As far as norms and standards go, if we are impartial and we don’t attach any sentiment to our relationship with steroids, they could easily be moral.
Let’s not forget morality is fluid and should change continuously, like many parts of society, including law and scientific evidence. What we now know about smoking is different from what we knew fifty years ago. Since science has studied smoking much more, we’ve come to understand it in a different light. From a possible recommendation, it has become a public hazard. Law around smoking has also changed, and with that, the morality of smoking or not smoking.
Steroids, in sports, are not natural
How do we define "natural"?
The athelte's body will use the supplement and build muscle or drop off fat. Going beyond, the steroids themselves are either something found in the human body or something based on that. If steroids are not natural, are all the substances pushed as currently-defined supplements natural?
Addendum - following the money
As it stands, we have a highly-public, strongly advertised industry — fitness. We take our perceived heroes, we put a
Subway sandwich tub of creatine in his or her hands, take a photo and make money off of that. We use people’s insecurities or their drive to improve and we profit off of it.
Let’s imagine if steroids were legal…
You would have the same, highly-public, strongly advertised industry — fitness. We now take our heroes, those who choose to take steroids, and we take a photo with them and the latest in Dianabol improvements! If it’s wrong to do that, why is it wrong to do the same with the current supplements? I don’t know of any supplement manufacturer that puts some of their money back into unbiased research in health, safety and nutrition, but we could tax steroids so we get that money and do the research that we need.
If steroids became legal, would all athletes use them? Of course not!
We can also create a framework for this potential reality, having natural and enhanced athletes competing with their peers. I will continue to be impressed with any all-natural human achievements, but it will be fun, from time to time, to see just how far we can go, powered by science!
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