Saturday, October 24, 2009

Legalize Steroids!

Aside from our discussion of exorcisms on this week's Culture Wars, we talked about Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban's comments about steroids in professional sports. This has been getting only a few lines of news copy here and there, and one of them can be read right here.

Predictably, one can read some "outraged" responses to Cuban's comments on most web sports sites. Cuban's just trying to be outrageous and controversial, most of these complaints charge.

Actually, Cuban's being way too low key and conservative in his comments. What he should be saying is that steroids should never have been made illegal in the first place!

The criminalization of steroid use will, hopefully, one day be right up there in the anals of American legal history as one of the all time stupidest laws ever, EVER passed. Right up there with the prohibition of alcohol. It belongs in those humor books listing stupid, archaic laws on the books, all the ill-conceived nonsense like the counties that make walking your aligator on a leash in public illegal. Like the FCC given the power to fine broadcasters for too much sex and violence.

In his comments, Cuban explains that limited, doctor-supervised steroid use should be tolerated as long as it can be proven that there will be no negative side effects...

Come on, Mark, you can be more daring than that! Where is the trademark Cuban bravado and willingness to court controversy?

Doctor-supervised steroid use, of course, is already legal. But what I want to pick some bones with is the statement about allowing steroid use as long as it can be proven that no negative side effects will result. The fact of the matter is that there is HARDLY ANY valid, scientific evidence that steroid use is life-threatening in any way. And I'm talking about scientifically conducted research at a university, research which is then peer-revieved and published in a scientific journal. Scientific evidence that steroids are a threat, something that will hasten your trip to the grave?? DOES NOT EXIST.

What does exist is a whole lot of locker room mythology and stories about the friend of a buddy who heard that his girlfriend's brother got some pills from a training partner that did this and that.

As far as what scant little scientific research exists, there is some evidence loss is some steroids users. Or acne! Or the tenderness in the nipple areas. Some elevated cholesterol levels or some raised blood pressure levels. Hardly the scourge of modern America.

Binging on too much chocolate can also cause acne in some. Too much bacon and greasy meat can also raise cholesterol levels. Too much salt might take up your blood pressure too! Reading anything ever published by L. Brent Bozell can take up the blood pressure of anyone with an IQ higher than the average belt size.

Stronger and clearer data about the side effects of steroids exists when it comes to female steroid use. Women who use too much steroids, like professional female bodybuilders, have shown signs of secondary male characteristics developing. Things like the deepening of the voice or the growth of excess body hair or the coarsening of the skin. But is any of this life threatening?? No! And if female athletes choose to tolerate these effects on their bodies - if they choose to defy a social construct of acceptable appearance and standards of attractiveness - is it really the role of the government to come in and start punishing them? No!!!

The history of steroids and the law is yet another infuriating case of a moral panic running amok. It's a history that goes back to the 1980s and early 90s when the brain cancer and death of football player Lyle Alzado made headlines. Before his death, an emaciated Alzado, a toothpick-thin version of his old self, declared that he believed that his long years of steroid use gave him brain cancer. This captured a lot of media attention. What did not was the fact that Alzado's own oncologists - that's cancer specialist - did not believe that there was any evidence of a link between Alzado's juicing and his cancer. But a sticky little detail like science didn't get in the way of a moral panic sweeping America and over-eager crusaders and politicians passing laws, as usual.

I would have loved hearing Cuban make a few statements like these. But he felt a little too timid that day, unfortunately.

Oh well...gotta hit the gym and pump some iron. But I really wish I could legally do something about this plateau I hit with my bench presses!


  1. Tnx!
    Now a days Anabolic steroids or, Legal steroids are used on professional sports.
    Steroids those are legal by law are called Legal steroids. So, you can use these.

  2. I agree with the
    statement is to allow the use of steroids, provided you can demonstrate that there was no negative side effects resulting in the people

  3. It seems Donovan did not do much research prior to writing his blog. Donovan attempts to explain that steroids should be legal since they are not life threatening, but previous evidence shows the opposite. An April 1989 study conducted by the Case Western Reserve University Department of Nutrition—written in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition—separated 45 male bodybuilders into three groups, in order to study the effects of anabolic steroids on cardiovascular disease (CVD). Eighteen men were placed in the steroid-using group, seventeen in a non-steroid-using group, and ten in a control group. All three groups were given the same diet. The scientists found that the steroid group had a 22% increase in LDLs and a 63% decrease in HDLs. The study concluded that anabolic steroids have a strong influence on cardiovascular disease (Kleiner). Additionally, short-term steroid use can cause a condition called peliosis hepatis, in which blood-filled cysts appear on the liver. If these cysts were to rupture, they would cause internal bleeding. Long term steroid use can cause liver failure, due to the replacement of liver and spleen tissue by these cysts along with cancerous tumors (Association Against Steroid Abuse). Donovan tries arguing that bacon, greasy meat, chocolate, and salt all have negative side effects. Yet, each of these does not cause the multitude of negative effects and the quick route to death associated with steroid use.

    Donovan also challenges the illegality of steroids by stating that one of the reasons they have been banned is due to government regulation of the “social construct of acceptable appearance and standards of attractiveness.” To think that the government cares about the appearance of individuals is an extremely weak argument. People can normally appear any way they want in public, so long as it does not violate any indecent exposure laws. The government has much better things to focus on than a woman with increased male characteristics or a man with gynecomastia, especially since some individuals naturally possess these characteristics.

    The final flaw in Donovan’s article is his statement that the arguments for negative side effects from steroid use all stem from the death of Lyle Alzado in 1992. While little evidence shows any correlation between brain cancer and steroid use, the idea that all negative opinions stemmed from this one event is asinine. Individuals like Steve Michalik and Arnold Schwarzenegger used steroids and voiced strong oppositions to their use before Alzado even began juicing. Likewise, studies, including the 1989 CVD study, gave indications of negative side effects prior to the steroid-caused brain cancer scare. People must look over at a variety of sources to make an informed decision, rather than simply basing their opinion on the first article that is displayed on Google.

    Early in his blog, Donovan relates the ban on anabolic steroids to the prohibition of alcohol. Both substances can and are abused in society. The key difference between the two is that anabolic steroids require an in depth knowledge of dosing, cycling, aromatization, and hormones. Moreover, persistent use of low dosages of anabolic steroids can be harmful. Donovan wants to know what will hasten someone’s trip to the grave. The answer is to take anabolic steroids and simply wait for plaque buildup, atherosclerosis, and the eventual heart attack. If steroids were to be legalized, it would only be a matter of time before human growth hormone, erythropoietin, and other dangerous, easily abused drugs would follow. Despite numerous studies that have been conducted on steroids in the fifty years following the creation of Dianabol, the debate over the effects of steroid use are based on opinion rather than fact

  4. Steroids are not a magic pill. You need to eat, train, and rest.

    Canada Steroids