Traverse City Record-Eagle

July 26, 2013

Chris Dobrowolski: PEDS most likely here to stay

By CHRIS DOBROWOLSKI
Sports writer

— If former "Price is Right" announcer Rod Roddy was still alive I could just hear him now:

“Ryan Braun, come on down. You’re the latest athlete to be implicated for using performance-enhancing drugs!”

The news this week that tied Braun to Biogenesis director Tony Bosch — and ultimately led to his season-ending suspension by Major League Baseball — adds the Milwaukee Brewers star to the ever-growing list of disgraced athletes who have vehemently denied using PEDs, only to be caught red-handed later on down the line.

Lance Armstrong, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Marion Jones, Floyd Landis and Rafael Palmeiro are the biggest of the names to be caught after steadfast denial of PED use. If you add the hundreds of other athletes who either never denied being involved with PEDs once they were busted, or could never be proven guilty after alleged use, it’s amazing that we’re all not desensitized by now to the constant stream of news connecting athletes and steroids.

If you’re looking for a respite, don’t expect it to come any time soon, either. It’s already known that several other MLB players, like Braun, have been linked to the Biogenesis investigation, including Detroit Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta and the Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez, and could face suspensions as well. It could just be a matter of days. It’s like a kink in the neck that you hope will eventually work itself out, but never goes away. Time and time again, PEDs creep back into the news and take away from the thing that draws most of us to sports — the games being played on the field.

It makes me sad to say, but PEDs are here to stay. Scientists have become more and more advanced in creating steroids that are increasingly difficult to detect. Plus, sports have become such a big part of our planet’s culture, many athletes find there’s too much money and fame at stake to not take a shortcut if you can get away with it.

I’ve heard the question posed over and over again: Would you take PEDs if it could potentially provide your family with a lifetime of financial security? Considering the shame and ridicule that tends to come with being labeled a cheater if you are caught, and the unknown side effects years down the line of taking PEDs, it’s more of a risk than people might suspect. Then again, a great number of athletes come from the most impoverished of circumstances and have nothing to lose.

Virtually every major sports organization talks a good game when it comes to ridding their sports of PEDs, and several baseball players this week have been more outspoken than ever about having harsh penalties for the rule breakers. It all looks good on the surface, doesn’t it?

But as we’ve learned, it’s highly unlikely that this will be the last time the sports world is tainted by a PED scandal, while many of us are left shaking our heads in dismay.