The Truth About Steroids; Deja Vu. We've been here before ... many times.
Steroids help some athletes to some extent, there is no doubt. How much they help is less clear. And they certainly don't have the same impact in all sports. Steroids will help an athlete do something relatively rudimentary, like run, jump or swing a bat a lot more than perform a sport as dynamic and multi-faceted as MMA. In a sport where speed, timing, flexibility and agility are paramount, steroid use is as likely to hurt as help. If guys with trt exemptions had been dominating mixed martial arts, then it would be more clear. But it's been anything but that. Until someone can convince us that Cain Velasquez, Jon Jones, Anderson Silva, Georges St. Pierre, Jose Aldo, Anthony Pettis and many others have all been taking steroids, it seems only reasonable to steer clear of the "cheating" characterization so prevalent today.
Moreover, it's not as if there is fairness to begin with! Some athletes have access to the best equipment, technology, trainers, coaches, sparring partners, etc ... How fair is that? Yet any outrage here is notably absent. And isn't there a more likely reason authorities went to all the trouble of formalizing the commitments of governments around the world, made legally binding via UNESCO convention, ratified individually by 191 governments at the UNESCO General Conference (October 2005) in the first global international treaty against "doping" in sport, subjecting thousands of athletes to things like blood/urine samples and "whereabouts filings," during, in, and out of competition, any time, at any location in the world? But we’ll get back to that in a moment.
If it were really about fairness, legalization would solve the problem. Obviously then there's more to it." What about safety? Steroids can be dangerous, for sure. But that doesn't mean they have to be. Why are we so one-sided about this? Why do we ignore the upside, and then call for regulation because of the downside? Do we really so little faith in the ability of athletes to differentiate between use and abuse? Meanwhile, junk foods and eating at the end of the industrial food chain are causing enormous societal health problems. Even our youth are experiencing exploding rates of obesity and diabetes. Why then do we have carte blanche access to junk foods, which have obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer rates through the roof? It seems that if anything is going to be regulated, it ought to be the garbage coming out the end of the industrial food chain, the results of which have been a clear path of destruction. But, alas, do those billion dollar disease industries want their cash cow to find a cure? So, you tell me: Is the regulation of steroid use in sports really about safety?
Or is there a bigger reason? Regulatory schemes love to masquerade as noble, countervailing forces against grave evils, invariably. But they usually amount to little more than sophisticated control mechanisms, designed to protect monied interests and impede ordinary people. They provide loopholes allowing those with the economic means to pay their way around the regulatory apparatus while everyone else must comply, the proverbial "organic" label of sport. Regulators love to masquerade as being anti-big business, when in fact they are usually authored by them. The FDA and SEC, for example, are being run revolving door style by the likes of Monsanto and Goldman Sachs. Is it any different with steroid use in sports? Even the Olympic Committee got caught with their pants down taking pay-offs under the table. Which regulatory apparatus can we trust?
And what interests lie behind the regulation of steroid use in sports? How badly do the big interests of the medical/pharmaceutical complex want high profile celebrity (eg; pro athletes) romanticizing and drawing interest to a substance like steroids, that have been referred to as a “fountain of youth” … that have various health enhancing benefits, even beyond burning fat, building lean muscle mass, including things like preventing things like heart disease and depression, and treating things like arthritis and cancer? All types of steroids have very profound effects on the human body which raises the question: what other curative and beneficial uses might still be undiscovered? And who would the likes of Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline, or Johnson and Johnson like to do the discovering? Probably not anyone in the public eye. Enter the regulatory apparatus.
It's not as if there's no clear, historical precedent here! Is it illegal to grow breadseed poppies, for example, because the plant really presents a significant, measurable danger? Or is it because it's extremely valuable, used to make drugs like heroin, morphine, opium, oxycodone, hydrocodone/Vicodin, codeine, Percocet, and Fentanyl? Human cultivation and utilization of this plant dates to ancient times and it has been used through the ages for a myriad of purposes outside of pain medicine. But how badly do drug companies want people making their own medicine in their garden? And are the onerous regulations associated with the distillation of alcohol really there because alcohol is that dangerous? Did we suddenly lose our handle on this amazing technology, which dates to the Middle Ages in Europe and (arguably) long before that in Asia? Most farms in America used to have a still which was used to distill various farm waste (by products, wood, stover, garbage... ) into alcohol, which in turn, was used to run everything from machinery, lamps, cars and trucks. Alcohol was looked upon as everything from the "fuel of the future" to the KEY to independence from foreign oil and revitalizing the American Farm ... by the likes of Ford, Kettering and Ricardo. But Rockefeller, his Standard Oil, and his friends in high places (including one Abe Lincoln) weren't having any of it. It's a lot easier to sell fuel to a people who are not allowed to make their own! All this this is very reminiscent of the demonization of hemp during the synthetic boom of the 40’s and the pharmaceutical boom of the 50’s, when much of the world, including America, depended on hemp for their everyday needs, foods, medicine, building materials, clothes, paint, and fuel. If hemp is really the evil plant sent to us by the Dark Lord, which is the billing it has received, then why was hemp referred to as “the billion dollar crop” back in the 1930s?
So, by all means, let's regulate the hell out of yet another extremely valuable substance. Let's take on another obscenely expensive, bureaucratic train wreck that accomplishes precisely the opposite of what it sets out to, and pretend it's a noble thing. The ostensible reasons for the draconian regulation on extremely valuable resources and technologies have a strong tendency to masquerade under the banner of some moral/ethical/health imperative. But the truth has precious little to do with any of that, at least for anyone not given to Peter Pan - like story lines. The real reasons these things are so tightly controlled, if not outright criminalized, has nothing whatsoever to do with the noble causes presented and everything to do with protecting what James Madison called the "wealth of the nation." The real beneficiaries, the likes of Rockefeller's Standard Oil, DuPont synthetics and big pharmaceuticals, scarcely make the headlines, let alone get called onto the carpet, save perhaps the odd slap on the wrist for window dressing. We live in a world where the government can tell us that they "lost" 2.3 trillion dollars, as the Rumsfled Pentagon did with the full support of the Bush Administration in 2001, or that they are giving trillions of taxpayer dollars to the nation's largest banks, subsequently refusing to divulge the specific recipients, as the Obama administration did in 2008. So you'll have to forgive me for being skeptical. All I ask is that we be spared the nauseatingly stale, righteous posturing, for once.