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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Sports and Ethics: The Debate Over Performance Enhancement

Steroids IV.jpgSeveral of my recent articles explore the continued debate over the use of performance enhancement substances with regard to possible baseball Hall of Fame nominees, the MLB blood testing for HGH, and suggested guidelines that differentiate between appropriate versus non-appropriate sports performance enhancement practices.

I know there are some who believe that performance enhancement drug (PED) use is no big deal, that maybe it would be best to just legalize all of it, and that the entertainment value of higher levels of performance is most important. Then there are those whose beliefs operate on a completely different plane, the opposite of that which I just described. And, of course, there are those whose thoughts on this topic fall somewhere between these two extremes.

Just to give you an idea on how diverse thought processes on this issue can collide, take a look at the comment section near the bottom of this article:  Alex Rodriguez Fallout: Is There Any Stopping Steroids on Bleacher Report - an informative sports reporting blog site.

Even though I do not want PED use to become the major focal point of my blog, it is hard to stay away from the issue since, in one way or another, it tends to pop up in the media pretty regularly.

Recently, from a more scientific source blog comes a short piece titled, Baseball season opener: Athletes and ethicists look at fairness in sport. Within this piece is highlighted information from The Hastings Center, a bioethics institution, and Thomas H. Murray's (CEO of this center) essay titled, Making Sense of Fairness in Sports, along with other essays in The Hastings Center Report.

I only had the option of reading an excerpt from the Making Sense of Fairness in Sports piece; however, its essence certainly supports a much more ethical view of performance enhancement in sports, something I wholeheartedly agree with. The suggestions I raise in my two-part article on ChicagoNow, A-Rod, McGwire, Bonds, Baseball, and Performance Enhancement: Where Do We Draw the Line? (Part I & Part II - The Guidelines), seem to have more than passing similarities to the principles echoed in the excerpt from Dr. Murray's essay as well as highlights in the Baseball season opener piece.

In that piece, a question is raised about removing the ban on non-harmful PED's. Murray's answer, according to the article, was "no because 'athletes would confront a terrible choice: refrain from drugs and give up an edge that will often be decisive, or join in an ever-rising spiral of drug use'."

His thoughts are even more detailed in this accompanying video below.

Personally and professionally, I like his stance.


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