The Lance Armstrong story is all over the sports news today leading some to speculate that some jail time might be in Lance’s future.
Lance Armstrong has been under close investigation for previous steroid usage during the period he won seven Tour de France races. For years Armstrong has been suspected (and even directly accused) of using steroids, but only in the last 1-2 years has such incriminating evidence surfaced as we are witnessing today. To be honest, it doesn't look good for Armstrong, prompting sports fans to think about the magnitude of sports cheating today and the ramifications and penalties that follow athletes who eventually get caught.
Most people don't equate steroid usage with other, more serious crimes (like theft, rape, or murder). The reality, however, is that athletes who do get caught - especially after lying under oath - face very serious penalties, including jail time. Marion Jones, the former track and field star, served six months in prison for lying and later owning up to her steroid usage. All-time baseball great Roger Clemens has maintained his innocence of steroid usage, yet increasingly more details continue to emerge making it look like it is only a matter of time before we see him serve time in jail. In these times, athletes hope for fines and suspensions when faced with the reality of potential prison time.
There are many reasons why elite-level athletes choose to break the rules (and laws in most cases) and risk using various steroids and human growth hormones. The most obvious reason is to improve performance, which usually leads to longer and more lucrative professional sport contracts. Of course, that's not the only reason athletes use, as some experience an obsession to satisfy their personal egos and do everything possible to reach their full athletic potential. It is during this mad rush to be the best that even the great athletes like Clemens, Jones, and Armstrong risk everything in their lives - even jail time - for improved sports performance.
Lance Armstrong may very well be the next big name in sports to go to jail for steroid usage. As testing procedures become more advanced, and more money is devoted to investigations and prosecutions, athletes today need to really think through the risks they are taking when it comes to using steroids. Aside from the obvious dangers of physical harm, steroid users will face hard time as cheating in sports is no longer a laughing matter.