Integrity Matters
August 31, 2005

Sports striking out on drug abuse policies

Question: (E-201)

Dear Jim:

The corruption of drug abuse in sports seems to have been papered over with sealed evidence. Looks like those in the legal system, who dropped 40 of 42 charges about steroids, have placed their heads in the sand. What are your thoughts?


Chances are pretty good that some small number of individuals will be paraded in front of the public as "bad examples" and they will take the heat for years of violations of many who will never be charged.

Cheating will have been allowed, by the ticket-selling owners and the players' organizations. Record books will have not reconciled the hypocrisy and sleaze of tainted athletes who profited from "chemically-enhanced" performances.

The "juiced" balls, bats and muscles that created sensational games are simply a reflection of the public's demands. For the immediate gratification of those who demand superhuman feats, individuals risked their lives. Some died.

These life-threatening and culture-numbing drugs are not unique to sports.

Society has jumped on board.

Many today are hooked on the drug of constant activity - filling every moment with stimulation created by noise, color, data, interactions and fantasy.

Is it any wonder that sports fans expect a three-ring circus to surround sporting events?

Aspiring athletes know that making the cut can mean the difference between new-found riches and a return to the poverty of their youth. They want to perform well and they need to, but not at any cost. Many young athletes squandered their education to play for the institution that paid for their time, only to be returned to the dead-end lives they knew before their four or five years of collegiate competition.

Leadership is needed now. Congress and various institutions involved must hold all parties 100 percent responsible.

Owners and players are locked in an economic tug of war that will destroy fair competition and the health of a whole generation that chooses to play the drug game.

All sports stakeholders can help to improve sports events:

  • Fans, be clear: Set realistic performance standards and show respect for honest and clean competition.
  • Owners, stop giving frenetic and irresponsible fans what they demand. Drug-induced performance is a zero-sum game. Everyone loses.
  • Players associations, think longer term: protect our gifted athletes.
  • Higher education: It is time to be clear on the purpose of sport and the role academic institutions.

Home Page | About Us | Ask Bracher | Services | Resources | Contact Us

©Bracher Center for Integrity in Leadership. All Rights Reserved.
1400 Munras Avenue ~ Monterey, California 93940