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A Sensible Position on Steroids

I disagree with Jake Rossen that stiffer penalties for steroid use are the answer, but at least we agree on why athletes take them - and how they're human, all too human.  Notable quote:

But because steroids have a scarlet letter sewn to them by the press, and because Chris Benoit will forever color perceptions of drug use in this country, it's unlikely that commissions and fans will ever accept that steroids hardly contaminate contests as much as the hysterical public thinks they do.

So the question remains what to do about them.

The current system, while admirable in its intentions, is obviously not working. Despite a rash of positive results, suspensions, and fines, athletes are still routinely melting urine sample cups.

Looking to the UFC for guidance ignores the clear conflict of interest there exists in a promotion trusted to police itself, when punishment to its talent will result in financial damage to its own bottom line. At best, the company could supplement sentences handed down by the state commissions, canceling contracts on second offenses or giving the user's purse to his opponent.

As it stands, there exists no sufficient incentive for an athlete to consider not using. Some feel they must use in order to maintain the physical demands set by their profession. A fine (in Royce Gracie's case, a laughable sub-1% of his prize purse) or suspension doesn't seem to deter them. You can use steroids, hope you don't get caught, or you can not use steroids and hope the other guy does.