Athletes and steroids the words go together as well as peanut butter and jelly. From the 50s and 60s Olympic weight lifting teams, to baseball as early as the 1970s; from NFL accusations in the 1980s and an Olympic scandal for the ages athletes and steroids is by far nothing new. For several years when you watch the nightly news youre often led to believe athletes and steroids is a rising problem, almost unique to the modern age. To begin, if it is an actual Problem is up for debate but make no mistake, the use of anabolic steroids in professional and amateur sports is nothing new.
The NFL, perhaps the most obvious anabolic steroid using sporting association is often given a free-pass in the eyes of many. An individual who is familiar with anabolic steroids is not easily fooled but for the majority of the population ignorance is bliss and the media largely falls within this majority or perhaps better yet have decided to play dumb.
Anabolic steroid use became apparent in the NFL in the late 1980s when the league first started administering steroid testing for its athletes and since that time many have been implicated in its charge. However, steroid use in the NFL stretches back much further than the late 1980s all the way back to 1960s. Although we do not know the extent of players who used steroids in the 60s and 70s thanks to admissions by former players such as Steve Courson we know it to be true but it has become even more apparent in the modern era. Former linebacker and current coach Jim Haslett has stated he knows without a shadow of doubt in the 1980s better than half of all NFL players were using anabolic steroids. Couple Hasletts words with the BALCO scandal of 2003 and the words of former linebacker Bill Romanowski and we understand, athletes and steroids are as much a part of the game as is the football they play with.
When it comes to athletes and steroids major league baseball is without question the most talked about and controversial. For reasons that make as much sense as saying 2+2=7 we have been led to believe only now have we witnessed the baseball steroid era. As far back as the 1800s major league baseball players have done whatever it takes to gain an advantage; as far back as 1889 testosterone extract from the testicles of live animals has been used in the MLB; even Babe Ruth himself is recorded as to having tried this practice. It doesnt end there; the late great Mickey Mantle is rumored to have fallen prey to an abscess due to an improper injection of anabolic steroids during his 1961 chase with Roger Maris.
Ruth and Mantle, those are some big names, but what about anabolic use on the whole, what do we know? From former pitcher Tom House, he has stated during his career at least 6 or 7 pitchers he knew for fact used anabolic steroids on every team in the league during the 1970s; thats pitchers alone and doesnt include the rest of the players. Former player David Wells has stated nearly half of all players are using and the king of steroid scandal Jose Canseco has put the estimate as high as 80%. Wherever the true number falls lets be honest, its high and has been high for many years. The term The Steroid Era in regards to modern baseball is not only a joke, its an outright lie; steroids have been as much a part of major league baseball as has been the 7th inning stretch.
For the foundation of the joint relationship between athletes and steroids it is within the Olympics proper placement may be applied in order to find the true beginning. It was the Soviet Olympic weight lifting team who are the first athletes to use synthetic anabolic steroids as a means of performance enhancing as we know them today and it was the U.S. Olympic weight lifting team who answered in turn with more powerful anabolic steroids. Since this time steroids have always been an issue of high debate surrounding the Olympics, perhaps more than any other sporting event known to man. Although the IOC administers a strict anti-doping policy, as each Olympic Games passes many fail the test and according to former Olympic drug testing officials, many fail the test and get a free pass.
Although anabolic steroids have been used for many years in the Olympic Games and continue to be it was the 1988 Summer Olympics that brought the issue to the forefront of debate. Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson defeated Carl Lewis of the U.S. team in an absolute beat down of the ages and red flags were thrown. Johnson would shortly be stripped of his award and humiliated on a national level and it was with this many credit as the nail in the coffin, although a nail of many that would lead to the U.S. congress passing the Steroid Control Act of 1990.
Baseball, football and the Olympic games, athletes and steroids go hand-in-hand, this many understand and if you didnt you should have a good idea now. Even so, do not be fooled, the use of anabolic steroids in sports goes far beyond the three categories discussed, from boxing to the MMA, basketball and golf, swimming and everything in-between, although in sports such as basketball and golf it doesnt appear to be as high, it is there and to insinuate otherwise is an outright lie or a conscience decision to live in ignorance.