Mandatory Drug Testing: Pushing for an Even Playing Field

Topics: Drug test, Medicine, Tests Pages: 7 (2701 words) Published: January 5, 2008
As children, many people are introduced to the famous quote by late National Football League coach, Vince Lombardi, which is "winning isn't everything; it's the only thing" (Voy 204). Sports have always been about winning; however, some professional and amateur athletes take this simple saying too literally and it changes their outlook on their profession. As high school and even middle school athletes, they start to take drugs in order to be accepted, or to better their performance on the playing field (Louria n.pag). Once theses athletes reach the college level; they experiment, and are surrounded by even more drugs in order to get any advantage. It is not fair that one athlete can work hard in order to improve his performance, but then have another athlete improve more than him due to being wired on cocaine or bulked up on steroids. Also, Robert Voy states that drug use today is the biggest threat to the Olympics ideal, thus the Olympics and many other professional organizations are turning to drug testing. Testing is a huge controversy today because many believe that it violates one's right of privacy; however, if there is no testing, many athletes will continue to have an unfair advantage to non drug users (180). Furthermore, it injures the user because it will result in mood changes, and it will hurt their health, if not immediately, then it will later on in their life. The chance of being caught using drugs is so small compared to the achievements one will have while using drugs which is so vast. No athlete should have an unfair advantage, these advantages only promote drug use, which many athletes believe it is a necessary means in today's time. The only way to have the use of drugs decrease is to have mandatory drug testing across the board for all athletes.

Voy stated that since the beginning of sport competition, athletes have searched for an easier alternative method in order to succeed in their sport (3). In the first Olympics, the participants would enhance themselves by consuming meat months before the start of the games. The Greeks were aware that the meat they consumed was full of testosterone, which they so desperately desired in order to compete (5). Athletes since then, have continued using a variety of ways in order to succeed in their sport. In the 1800s they turned to caffeine, ether-coated sugar cubes, and even nitroglycerin because it was believe that the heart would pump more blood and reduce fatigue (10). Voy further states that this practice continued throughout the 1900s; however, many athletes during this time, especially cyclist and long distance runners, ended up dying as a result of this deadly concoction. It was not until after World War Two, in which amphetamines were introduced to athletes. Many football and baseball players used amphetamines, a stimulant that increased concentration and reduced fatigue, partly because the drug was so easily accessed (12). In the 1940s, many forms of amphetamines were ale to be purchased over the counter; so many players abused the stimulant (13). The possibilities of drug use was so great that many athletes used drugs freely without punishment.

In the 1970, after the Vietnam War, many of the returning soldiers were found with heroin addictions, which started the first idea of mandatory drug testing. However, Nardo states that the War on Drugs reached a new high in 1986, in which President Ronald Reagan heavily promoted drug testing in the workplace. That year, the NCAA, National Collegiate Athletic Association, started a drug testing program that put jurisdiction over all collegiate athletes (23). If an athlete's drug test was found to be positive, then the participant could not participate in any NCAA game or tournament (24). This rule shows that no one, no matter how talented they may be, can escape punishment.

Doyice Cotton and John Woldhan explain how those who are against the drug test believe that it violates the fourth...

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Safron, Marc, and Douglas McKee. Manual of Sports Medicine. Philadelphia: Lippincott-Raven, 1998.
Taylor, Robert. "Compensating Behavior and the Drug Testing of High School Athletes." Cato Journal 1997: n. pag, 26 Oct. 2007 .
Torr, James, et al; eds. Sports and Athletes. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2005.
Voy, Robert. Drugs, Sports, and Politics. Champaign: Leisure Press, 1991.
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