One of the greatest baseball players to ever play, and the leader in career homeruns in the MLB, Barry Bonds, could end up going down in the history books with an asterisk next to his name. Why? He has been accused of taking performance enhancing drugs to improve his strength while he was still playing. Although Bonds has never tested positive for steroids, he is still accused of doping, and there are many signs that would lead one to assume that he was. In his early years, he was a quick player, stealing an average of 37 bases per season for his first 12 seasons. However, in his last 10 seasons, he averaged less than 7 steals per year. If someone was gaining muscle naturally, one would think that the athlete’s speed wouldn’t diminish by that much. Also in those first 12 seasons, Bonds averaged 34 homeruns per year, compared to the next six years after (while he was still fully healthy) where he averaged 49 per year (Baseball Reference).
According to the article “Could Steroids
Have Made Barry Bonds’ Head Grow In Size?” by Michelle Tsai, Bonds’ “[H]at size grew from 7⅛ to 7½, a difference of about an inch in circumference, and that his shoe size shot from 10½ to 13” (Tsai). A normal person doesn’t grow this amount while in his late 20s and early 30s without some form of growth hormone or steroid being pumped into his body, a point used by the accusers of Bonds’ PED use.
Bonds is not the only player to have his record tainted or tarnished from alleged steroid use. Stars such as Ryan Braun, Alex Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez, Sammy Sosa, Jose Canseco, Mark McGwire, Miguel Tejada, Roger Clemens, and Rafael Palmeiro have all either tested positive for steroids or have been accused of taking them at some point in their careers. Because of PED’s, stars such as Clemens, McGwire, Sosa, and Bonds all have not been inducted into the hall of fame yet. While their names are still on the ballots for previous years, the chances that they will ever get in are slim. Kevin Kernan helps illustrate the views of voters for Hall of Fame ballots in his article “PED-linked Players Losing Ground in Hall of Fame Vote” saying, “Bonds is baseball’s all-time home run leader with 762. He is a 14-time All-Star and a seven-time NL MVP. Clemens won seven Cy Youngs. McGwire hit 583 home runs. Those numbers could be made of dust, considering the voting record of the BBWAA” (Kernan). No matter how great the achievements of these star players were during their tenure in the league, the voters don’t want players with a tainted image to be allowed into Cooperstown.
Some of the greatest athletes in the world are accused of taking performance-enhancing drugs, and because of it seem to be banished from the Hall of Fame or other notorieties. Not all of these players have been confirmed of taking steroids, such as Barry Bonds, but will still probably never be inducted into the Hall of Fame because of their tainted images. Although they are the first thought into one’s head when PEDs are mentioned, baseball players are not the only people whom, when judged for their performance, have taken PEDs to improve their abilities. Performance-enhancing drugs have made their way into universities in the recent years, in the form of drugs such as Adderall, Ritalin, and Vyvanse. Many students and people alike take these drugs as medication for ADHD, and do need them for everyday life. However, a majority of college students who take these PEDs don’t take them out of necessity. Instead, Dr. Edward Hallowell, an ADHD expert cited in Arianna Yanes’ article “Just Say Yes? The Rise of ‘Study Drugs’ in College” states that these “’stimulants [to] strengthen the brain’s brakes, its inhibitory capacities, so it can control it’s power more effectively’” (Yames). Since these drugs cause students to use more of their brain and study more efficiently, they are taken to help improve grades instead of to aid the effects of ADHD.
Both forms of PEDs have many similarities. People who are rated on their performance take drugs that enhance how well they can do. Because of the this method of evaluation, Roger Cohen, the author of “The Competition Drug” states that “Adderall has become to college what steroids are to baseball: an illicit performance enhancer for a fiercely competitive environment” (Cohen). Whether it is building strength or focusing the brain, people are trying to cheat their way to success without much being done to stop them. One of the main focuses of our class was transparency in things like factory farms or big corporations with outsourcing. At least in the MLB, unlike universities, there are random drug tests that try to catch athletes who attempt to cheat by using PEDs. There is no transparency in schools, none of the professors know which students are taking these study drugs and which ones are not when determining final grades.
Elitist clubs like the MLB’s Hall of Fame are able to keep out players who are suspected to have taken PEDs. However, when students graduate and look for jobs, employers don’t know which students actually learned the material and earned their grades and which students just crammed at the last minute with the help of PEDs. Grades earned would mean students understand the material better and grades gained through PEDs would mean students crammed just for the test and likely forgot most of the material within weeks. This leads to many questions. Should schools drug test for Adderall and other PEDs around finals week to ensure that all students are competing on a level playing field? Should universities attempt random drug tests like the MLB in order to keep PEDs out of the game? What would the punishment be for people who violated the rules? PEDs are destroying the integrity of both baseball and academics, and something needs to be done in order to fix them.
Baseball Reference. “Barry Bonds” Baseball Reference. Web. 8 June 2014.
Cohen, Roger. “The Competition Drug” New York Times. 4 March 2013. Web. 10 June 2014.
Kernan, Kevin. “PED-linked Players Losing Ground in Hall of Fame Vote” New York Post. 8 January 2014. Web. 10 June 2014.
Tsai, Michelle. “Could Steroids Have Made Barry Bonds’ Head Grow In Size?” Slate. 19 November 2007. Web. 8 June 2014.
Yanes, Arianna. “Just Say Yes? The Rise of ‘Study Drugs’ in College” CNN. 18 April 2014. Web. 10 June 2014.