Something To Think About While Riding The Bench

Chicago Bears fullback Fullback Obafemi Ayanbadejo will be suspended for the first four games of the season for popping positive for steroids. Ayanbadejo, who was released by the Arizona Cardinals after failing the test, claims that an OTC supplement called Max LMG was the cause.

I’m fairly ambivalent about steroids in sports, myself. I figure adult atheletes are grown-ups and can weigh the risks and benefits for themselves. I understand that allowing them could possibly skew the risk-reward ratio if players believed that too many of the people they compete with are taking them, but the playing field would nevertheless be level if they weren’t banned.

But they are banned, in every major sport. And the players know it. The “supplement” excuse has been proffered a number of times in the last few years and it just won’t fly anymore. Maybe the first couple of times, one could give a player the benefit of the doubt on that score. But not in 2007.

It’s just too easy to take a sample of whatever “supplement” you’re thinking of taking to your team doctor and get an A-okay from him first. And they know it. If a player can’t be bothered to take that simple little step before putting something in his body it not only negates the excuse, frankly, it also looks a little suspicious.

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Dodd Harris
About Dodd Harris
Dodd, who used to run a blog named ipse dixit, is an attorney, a veteran of the United States Navy, and a fairly good poker player. He contributed over 650 pieces to OTB between May 2007 and September 2013. Follow him on Twitter @Amuk3.


  1. Tano says:

    If these drugs are not banned, then every athelete will feel compelled to take them, to remain competitive.
    And then every college athelete.
    And every high-school athlete.

    Any child who has athletic aspirations will know that drugs are the only way to go if you want to maximize your chances in such a highly competitive field.

    I think it would be an absolute disaster if there were no ban.

  2. markm says:

    “But they are banned, in every major sport.”
    …like WWE, WWF, etc….no, wait..

  3. James Joyner says:

    like WWE, WWF, etc….no, wait.

    Professional wrestling isn’t a sport and has long since pretending to be. It’s scripted performance art. The performers are tremendous athletes, to be sure, but then so are ballet dancers.

  4. markm says:

    Sorry James, I had my sarcasm thrusters set on warp 9.

  5. Dodd says:

    Any child who has athletic aspirations will know that drugs are the only way to go if you want to maximize your chances in such a highly competitive field.

    I acknowledged that a lift of the ban would skew the risk-reward ratio for pros. and I certainly have no objection to high school and collegiate athletics banning substances that would impact the still-developing bodies of amateurs. My ambivalence is entirely because I don’t automatically subscribe to the pervasive, and largely unquestioned, assumption that the ban in pro sports is presumptively valid.

    But that’s all really beside the point which is that, regardless of the utility of the ban, it exists and there are just no excuses for violating it “accidentally” any more.

  6. John Burgess says:

    Until we decide to go for parallel ‘Wid’ and ‘Widout’ sports, I prefer ‘Widout’. Our concept of sports is based on doing the most you can with what you were born with, equipment being equal.

    There’s an unfairness involved when amped athletes compete with unamped athletes. I might watch a form of sport that featured, nay required, steroid-derived bodies. But I’ll still prefer watching natural-born, albeit highly trained, individuals in any sport.

    If we say that steroid use is okay, that it’s just the use of modern biochemical technology, then can we say to no surgically or genetically altered competitors? Is it okay if a swimmer has his hands and feet webbed? How about replacing certain bones with titanium and ligaments with some form of genetically altered spiderweb?

    These might all be very entertaining to watch, but unless all the competitors were equally augmented, it doesn’t fit my definition of ‘sport’.