Right now the Mitchell Investigation is presenting its findings — perhaps it’s already over, but I caught the front-end of it on my lunch break. It was filled with the typical political rhetoric of the warm-fuzzy-feelings: Congress needed to investigate steroid use/abuse among professional athletes for the children.
Anyways, I fear that I don’t have anything terribly substantive to add to the discussion, but I’ll state or reiterate points that I may have made in the past.
As a matter of public policy: that Congress is spending time, money, and resources policing a monopoly it actively aids and abets is sickening. Of course, I don’t believe that Congress should be policing anything, anywhere, at any time; but until it is dissolved, there are countless other social ills of far greater importance, causing demonstrably more harm, towards which scarce time, money, and resources ought be allocated.
The athlete in me believes that the use of such substances constitutes a violation of unwritten rules, and the abolitionist in me believes that the league alone should set the rules guiding player conduct, but as long as there are laws against the use of steroids, that point is moot. Some of the apologists for the players like to argue that “steroids weren’t against the rules of the game” and therefore players should not be subject to penalties for using them. As much as I think they probably shouldn’t be illegal per se, they are in fact illegal, were in fact illegal, and therefore no reasonable person can conclude that their use is acceptable within the framework of the current criminal justice system. The absence of a rule proscribing theft of another player’s personal belongings does not exempt players from laws proscribing same. It should go without saying that anything which is against the law, is by default, against the rules of the game, and this includes the use of steroids.
Whether the players ought be allowed to use them, whether the league ought to be allowed to unilaterally set its own rules and standards, and whether drug laws ought exist at all is another topic for another day.