Degradation of Sports

THG. Pete Rose. St. John’s, Fresno State’s, St. Bonaventure’s, Iowa State’s, Baylor’s, Georgia’s, and Michigan’s men’s basketball programs, and Colorado’s, Alabama’s, Houston’s, Rice’s, Northern Colorado’s, Colorado State’s, and Washington’s football programs. These are just a few of the recent wave of scandals that have tarnished the image of sports in America. Gambling, cheating, lying, etc., all seem to be common practice in today’s sporting world, and, if not noticed, are even encouraged. The main roots of the problem are threefold; first, sports have become a business, and athletes, coaches, owners, etc., are willing to do anything to gain a competitive edge. Secondly, athletes enjoy such a high level of celebrity, many begin to believe that they are somehow not only above the rules of the game, but also of the law of our nation. Finally, there has always existed a seedy underbelly to the world of sports, and that culture has compounded and expanded over time as it has become more engrained in sports. High-profile athletes such as baseball superstars Barry Bonds and Jason Giambi, track runner Michael Johnson, and football player Bill Romanowski, were recently subpoenaed to testify in court about the use of the steroid THG in their respective sports. Lately, retired baseball players Jose Canseco and Ken Caminiti have admitted to using steroids. With the average salary for professional athletes ranging around a million dollars, players are willing to do anything to gain an edge. Of course, the morality behind taking a drug to supplement what God has given you is questionable, especially when taking this drug reduces the actual amount of work involved in building one’s body. Sports traditionally award hard work, skill, and perseverance; steroids eliminate the need for these attributes. The only way to be sure that athletes are not using steroids is to test for them; which all major sports, with the exclusion of baseball, currently do. Baseball’s player’s association argues that testing for steroids is “an invasion of privacy,” but since when, in regards to cheating, was privacy ever an issue? As long as players like Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Eric Gange enter the league thin and gain 50-60 pounds or 8 to 9 miles per hour on their fastball seemingly overnight, baseball will need to somehow address the issue of steroids in sports. Lately, college athletics have fallen on hard times as far as scandals go. Georgia, Michigan, St. Bonaventure, Colorado, and a multitude of other teams have had an assortment of recruiting violations ranging from paying athletes money to providing sexual services to admitting academically ineligible players. The simple fact of the matter is, however, that these are amateur athletes, and it is against the rules, immoral, unfair, and in some cases illegal for boosters and colleges to provide athletes with these kinds of services. It is especially disturbing since these acts are setting examples for athletes at a time in their life when their psychological and moral development is just as important as their athletic development. As an athlete that has been/is currently going through the college recruiting process, it is disturbing to me that many athletes no longer compete for the love of the game, and can no longer receive the most rewarding sense of pure accomplishment to their success, because they are now being taught to compete unfairly and for the wrong reasons. And to see professionals take their dream jobs playing the sport they once loved for granted, and cheating or violating rules, risking losing that career they’ve worked their whole lives for that billions of little boys and girls dream of and admire them for, is just upsetting.

By Zach Phillips P.S. – Please edit and submit