The NFL's Drug Problem

Ben SchwartzCorrespondent IJune 23, 2008


A decade ago, baseball was finally pulling itself out of the cellar of professional sports. Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa were on a home run tear, picking up 70 and 66 home runs respectively. Baseball seemed to be back in the spotlight and sports viewers were tuning into games again on television. What we didn’t know at the time is that players were juicing up on performance enhancing drugs.

As time went on and reports came out, baseball was presented with a black cloud above it, as it was entering the “Steroid Era”. Credibility was lost with past superstars of the 90’s like McGwire, Clemens, Sosa, and Bonds. 

Baseball owners and MLB Commissioner, Bud Selig, failed to do anything with their well known performance enhancing drugs issue. They were enjoying record numbers at the ticket gates and increased revenues and television ratings, they were in no way going to ruin this golden age of baseball.

Today the National Football league is in a similar predicament. The NFL has risen from a once boring league in the early nineties, to one of the most successful sports league in the United States today. Television ratings are always high, competition between teams is very fair, and there is a successful revenue sharing system set between the league’s 32 teams. 

What we do know today that we didn’t know ten years ago is that the top sports league in the nation has a performance enhancing drugs problem. The question few people are asking is, why isn’t anything being done about it? Is it because the NFL doesn’t have the same historical importance that baseball does? Or owners and the league officials don’t want to screw up something successful.

Why is that players like Shawne Merriman of the Chargers and Rodney Harrison of the Patriots, are suspended for steroids, and then allowed to be voted into the Pro Bowl? While in baseball, hall-of-fame caliber players, Rafael Palmeiro, Sammy Sosa, and Barry Bonds can’t find work because of their names being linked with steroids? 

The NFL has to do something about their steroid problem. While some people believe steroids don’t give the advantages in football that it would in baseball are truly wrong. Steroids-ridden players can have a huge advantage in a game.

From linemen blocking, to running-backs being able to push off defenders with that extra strength, and quarterbacks being able to push that ball 10 yards farther are all examples of how steroids can impact a NFL game.

Ten years from now I’d hate to see the NFL in a dark age once again, dealing with the problems they once ignored. Seeing upcoming college and high school players filled with drugs, as they feel it’s the only way to succeed in the pros. 

Cheating is no way to play the game, and the NFL has to address their ignorance.