Do steroids matter in baseball? Yes and for the following reasons. Cheating has been part of sports from the days of the Olympics so what Barry Bonds and Jason Giambi have admitted is not new. It was wrong in ancient Greece and it is wrong is now.
Call this another example of the “moral value debate.” It is not about sex but about cheating. Steriods are illegal when it comes to using outside the approved labeling and when not supervised by proper medical personnel. It is one thing to enhance your athletic performance by natural means like weight training and hard work outs. It is another thing to put your health at risk to do it with drugs. Not every baseball player uses steriods but many do. Those who don’t are put at a disadvantage by those who do.
For the average baseball player, it is not hard to see why. You can earn millions of dollars to play a kid’s game and become immortalized heroes in the process. So the temptation to cheat is great when you consider the money involved for both owners and players. The key to this debate is that players are giving themselves advantages over those who don’t cheat and that is one of the big issues.
Another reason is that employers do have a right to insist that their employees perform drug free. While many libertarians will insist that no company or organizations have a right to interfere with a employee private life, companies do have a right to ensure that their employees perform at the highest levels. Using drugs do have a negative effect upon many workers efficacy and it does matter to a private corporation if a employer peronal habits effect his or her job. Baseball is no difference. If a juiced up player affect the outcome of a game, it also hurts the intregrity of the game. So baseball has an interest in ensuring that faith of the game is not shaken.
Consider what will happen now when Bonds breaks Ruth record? Bonds will not be honored but his accomplishment will be tainted by many fans. What should have been a celebration will be a remainder of a scandal rotting the core of baseball. With million dollars in salaries handed out to players, baseball does have some right to insist that players show up drug free whether it is no cocaine or no steriods. Most players have no problem with a strict drug policy since such a policy levels the playing field for all players. Call it fairness.
So the bottom line is that sports is suppose to encourage positive characters of hard work and team cooperation. Sports is the one area where meritocracy takes precedences. A player is rewarded based on his accomplishments and reducing the use of steriods means that what athletic skills displayed is based on natural efforts. Cheating has no place in sports as it has no place in other aspect of life. Allow cheating in Sports merely reinforces cheating in other aspect of life. Sports figures are role model and not just to kids. When fans see cheating rewarded in the sport world, they only assume that it should be rewarded in life outside of sports.
Sports athlete have always been held to a higher standard due to their public standing. We know more about Barry Bonds than what we know about our local congressman. So we hold our stars to higher standards. Call it the price of fame. Basketball player Charles Barkley once complained that he should not be a role model for any kids but there are some profession that by their public nature ensure a different standard. A pastor once told me that everyone in his church knew his income and his whereabouts but that is the price of the life that he chose. An athlete is no different. That is why steriods in baseball matters.