by:Â Joe Hutton
A role model, cancer survivor, American hero and now a cheat.
A report by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) released Wednesday, Oct. 10 revealed Lance Armstrong had used performance-enhancing drugs during his cycling career. Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles, dropped by most of his sponsors and stepped down as chairman of his Livestrong charity.
Armstrong is just one of many athletes whose legacy was tarnished due to doping, leaving me with a bitter taste in my mouth and a knot in my stomach.
I'm getting really sick and tired of hearing the words "steroids" and "sports" in the same sentence. It happens year after year - another athlete cheating the system, another sport damaged because of it. When is it going to stop? I'm starting to lose faith entirely in sports.
I wish I could remember what it felt like to watch sports and not question whether someone is on steroids or not. But it has become almost impossible for me because of how often this issue comes up.
Today when I see an athlete break a record or put up ridiculous statistics, more often than not, I question whether he or she is using performance-enhancing drugs. Fans deserve better than that. Â Â Â
As a kid, I grew up admiring athletes like Michael Jordan, Barry Sanders and Bernie Williams, to name a few. I idolized those guys. I wanted to be just like them. I would have been crushed if it ever came out that my idols were using performance-enhancing drugs.
I feel sorry for the younger generation today, having been born into this steroid era. Athletes have to understand that when they cheat the system, they are not only ruining their reputation, but they are letting down hundreds of thousands of kids who look up to them. Not to mention the poor example they are setting of what it means to be an athlete.
But I must say, out of all the athletes who have been caught doping, none had a greater impact than Armstrong's outing. It's a rotten shame to think about everything that Armstrong stood for.
Armstrong's seven straight Tour de France victories came after he was diagnosed with cancer. His victories instilled hope into anyone who was suffering from cancer. And now we find out he was doping during those races. I can't even explain how deflating that is.
It's time for a change. I think every professional sport needs to address the issue of performance-enhancing drugs more firmly. And I'm not talking about more drug screening and stricter punishments, although they both should be addressed, too.
Professional athletes should start earning their million dollar contracts off the field as well. They should make a better effort to talk to young athletes about the harms of steroids. I want to see athletes in public service ads informing our youth what steroids can do to them.
Because whether professionals like it or not, young athletes do look up to them. Collectively, professional athletes can help reverse this steroid trend and reduce the blemish that performance-enhancing drugs has put on sports.
http://www.thestylus.net/sports/hutton-s-hotspot-steroid-users-consistently-abuse-faith-of-sports-fans-1.2934471#.UIbZn4b5PkJSocial tagging: cheat > cycling > doping > drugs