GRRR! Our Steroid Nation

It's about time athletes and league owners come clean about rampant steroid use and make it legal.

I'm not saying that I would recommend 12-year-olds get on the juice, and I certainly wouldn't want my children near the stuff, but when hallowed sports records are allowed to be broken under suspect circumstances — or in the parlance of the day: with an asterisk — well then, what's so hallowed about them in the first place?

I have given up caring about traditional professional sports where everyone good is suspect.

VIDEO: Straka on Steroids

Atlanta Braves third basemen Chipper Jones said recently that Alex Rodriguez will have to answer questions about steroid use when he inevitably approaches Barry Bonds' home run record.

Yeah, so?

Just like Lance Armstrong, Randy Couture, Terrell Owens, Tiger Woods, Serena Williams and so many other great athletes whose accomplishments as athletes far surpass their peers — thanks to the steroid-using cheaters who are breaking records — any legitimate prowess in any sport will be shadowed under a cloud of controversy.

Performance-enhancing drugs should just be accepted in sports. Why not? In practically all industries, performance enhancement means more money, and the sports trade is no different.

From the athletes who sign big-money contracts to the owners who fill stadium seats and sell overpriced beer to the television networks that rake in sponsors and finally, the leagues themselves that license billions of dollars worth of broadcasting and merchandising rights, enhanced performance equals big business.

We live in a steroid nation.

Your Internet connection is enhanced with content distribution networks, fiber optics, cable modems and peer-to-peer networking — and you would be hard-pressed these days to find anyone wanting to surf the Internet on an old 56k modem.

For years now we have been swiping credit cards for gas -- meaning you never have to prepay inside, meaning you're on your way faster. Fuel injection engines make your cars go faster. HDTV is your TV on steroids.

The list goes on and on.

Experts say steroids cause cancer. Shrink testicles. Cause male pattern baldness. Make skin break out. Kill you.


Because all I see from people taking steroids are home runs, big-money contracts, the world's fastest runners, iron men riding bicycles through the Pyrenees, photos of millionaire players with great-looking women — in short, all I see from steroids is the good life.

You want to even the playing field? Add another 25 feet to the outfield so that home runs are fewer. If they are all on the juice anyway, outfielders won't have any problem making up the extra ground.

Here's the thing: If you want to see steroid use go the way of dial-up Internet service, the stats and the records and the way players are evaluated for success need to change.

The number of championship rings should be all that matters when pricing out talent.

If that were the case, Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, Michael Vick and Terrell Owens would be just normal-salary athletes. To heck with individual accomplishments if they are not contributing to the welfare of the team overall, i.e. championships.

I root for teams when I watch team sports, not individuals. I don't care who makes the play, as long as they are wearing the right uniform.

That's why I prefer sports where competitors go head to head, like mixed martial arts — which I cover at

The difference in the cage, ring or Octagon is that no amount of steroid use is going to help when one is caught in a rear naked choke or kicked squarely on the side of the head. It won't matter how big your neck is when you are arm-barred by a Jiu Jitsu expert.

These days, Ultimate Fighting may be the only pure sport around. At least any steroid use can be rendered meaningless with a Superman punch thrown at just the right time.

To reiterate, I don't want children to think steroid use is good for their athletic careers.

But until harsh punishments are doled out to cheaters — like lifetime banishment from their sport — or the media begins to cover the steroid loser stories as much as they cover the steroid winner stories, the message is loud and clear: Steroids are A-OK.

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