There is a cloud of doubt over the world of professional sports.
Several recent allegations concerning steroid and performance-enhancing drug use among athletes, specifically in Major League Baseball, have brought to question the ethical backbone of professional sports.
Though steroid use in sports is not a new problem, there has been recent buzz surrounding the topic.
The February release of retired baseball player Jose Canseco’s book, Juiced, sent shockwaves through the world of professional sports.
In his book, Canseco accuses several professional baseball players, most notably Sammy Sosa and Rafael Palmeiro, of steroid use.
Due to the open allegations, the House Government Reform Committee called upon several athletes to testify concerning steroid use in sports.
Canseco, alongside all-stars Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro and Sammy Sosa, gave rousing testimonies to the congressional panel.
“I’m not going to go into the past or talk about my past. I’m here to make a positive influence on this [congressional hearing],” McGwire said at the hearing.
Other athletes, however, were more straightforward about their past drug use.
“I have never used steroids. Period,” Palmeiro said. “I do not know how to say it any more clearly than that.”
Alongside Palmeiro, Sosa outwardly rejected Canseco’s claims of steroid use.
“I would never put anything dangerous like that in my body. Nor would I encourage other people to use illegal performance-enhancing drugs,” Sosa explained.
The ethical consequences of steroid use have begun to take their toll on professional baseball.
Earlier this month, Giants outfielder Barry Bonds placed himself on the disabled list for 15 days to recover from two knee operations and escape criticism surrounding alleged steroid use.
Some athletes aren’t running from the criticism, however, but instead are defending the use of performance-enhancing drugs.
“Look at all the money in the game,” said National League MVP Ken Caminiti in a 2002 interview with Sports Illustrated. “A kid got $252 million. So I can’t say, ‘Don’t do it,’ not when the guy next to you is as big as a house and he’s going to take your job and make the money,” he said.
Professional athletes may be divided on the subject of steroid use, but fans are becoming increasingly united in their annoyance with the surrounding controversy.
Panel chairman Tom Davis is trying to remain optimistic amidst the chaos.
“I would hope that baseball would see this hearing as an opportunity [to ensure change],” he said.
Davis, alongside other fans, will continue to search for a ray of hope in the sport’s current cloud of doubt.