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Steroid Abuse


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Here is something that I have noticed from a few players including Palmeiro today... Some players that test positive for steroids claim they did not know they put any in their bodies. I think Bonds and Sheffield both claimed they just took what their trainers gave them without asking about the ingredients or anything (I'm not trying to say they took illegal steroids). I think this is a pathetic excuse because these are professional atheletes! How do they not know what they are putting in their bodies?!? I am not a pro athlete, but even I know what kinds of vitamins and medicines I put in my body.


Whether steroids are taken purposely, or "on accident", any players testing positive are guilty either way.

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I don't claim to be an expert on this stuff, but I gave myself a one-day intro at Google University and learned more than you'll learn from talk radio.


Part of what's going on is that there's some ambiguity as to what consitutes a "steroid." This is especially so in the case of so-called "designer" steroids, which are known to trainers and athletes before they're known to the authorities. The most famous case seems to have been a substance known as THG, which was in wide use but unknown to authorities until a track coach submitted them a sample. Voila, a whole bunch of people got caught using something that hadn't been explicitly banned when they were using it.


As a result, a trainer can give can athlete a substance, and he can swear up and down that it's not a steroid, and he can be telling the truth, or at least can rationalize that he's telling the truth. A player can deny that he's used steroids or banned substances, and rationalize that he's not lying.


But what seems to be common to all these "designer substances" is that even if they're not classified as steroids, they have the same effect, that of increasing testerone levels. If I understand correctly, most of the "steroid" tests not only look for traces of banned substances, but they also measure the ratio of testosterone to other hormones, in order to determine whether the testosterone was naturally produced. The trainers seem to use substances in combinations that keep the relevant ratios in line, to avoid triggering a positive test.


At any rate, there's a lot of ambiguity in the whole process, and there are a lot of ways a player or trainer can claim that they were truthful to the letter, if not to the spirit of the rules. Unfortunately, that also makes it very difficult to write and enforce explicit rules.

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