Steroid use in sports makes for juicy debate

Unacceptable: Athletes who use steroids are cheaters who put their health at risk and cast a cloud over our sports.

February 19, 2004

Sports has a set of clear rules. Three strikes, you're out. Ten yards for a first down. Twenty-four seconds to shoot.

To play the game, follow the rules. Using steroids is not following the rules.

Remember the old playground taunt? "Cheaters never prosper." The problem is, in the current climate, cheaters do indeed prosper. They set records. They win championships. They may even endorse your favorite soft drink.

It used to be that the smart player was the one who had the best feel for the game, who was always in the right place at the right time. Now, it could be the smartest athlete is the one who can figure out how to cycle off steroids in order to beat his league's drug testing.

The juiced athlete who puts his name in the record books most likely is erasing someone who played by the rules.

Argue that athletes aren't role models and that their use of steroids won't influence young people. Just don't try making that argument after seeing yet another kid wearing a replica jersey and team cap.

Athletes who use steroids selfishly endanger their health, disregarding their families. And they endanger the health of our games.

What do you think?

The Sun has summarized two views of steroid use in sports. We invite readers to offer theirs.

Go to The Sun's Web site, baltimoresun.com, and click on Sports to state your opinion. We will select a sampling to run in the Sports section on Tuesday.

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