Winners Lose When They Use PEDs

Devastating Effects on Reputation, Health and Wallet


(MCT with permission)

Former San Francisco Giants’ Barry Bonds listens to lawyer Allen Ruby speak to the media on Wednesday, April 13, 2011 in San Francisco, California. Bonds was convicted on one count of obstruction of justice, and mistrial was declared on three counts of perjury, which was based on Bonds telling a grand jury in 2003 that he never used performance-enhancing drugs. (Jane Tyska/Oakland Tribune/MCT)

Bryson Andrews, Contributor

Based on his performance on the field, Barry Bonds was one of the best professional baseball players of all time. However, because it is widely believed that he used performance enhancing drugs (PEDs), he may have trouble getting voted in the National Baseball Hall of Fame,  and he is not the only one.  Athletes who use, or may have used, illegal PED’s to increase their advantage on the playing fields, risk taking a very damaging hit to their reputations.

According to an article by Dr. Benjamin Wedro in, “Anabolic steroids refer to hormones, taken either orally or by injection, that influence the body’s hormonal system to produce extra testosterone.” Athletes use this type of steroid to increase strength because they make muscles grow faster, but in reality they are destroying their hormone system by interfering with their cells’ homeostasis. It has very dangerous side effects on a person’s health, and most professional sports associations have banned them. They are also illegal without a prescription.

Bonds was a super star baseball player whose reputation was damaged because he was accused of using PEDs.

— Bryson Andrews

According to an article written by Dan Peterson at, “Anabolic steroids, perhaps the most commonly known PED, are synthetic derivations of the naturally produced hormone testosterone.” Testosterone helps to grow muscles and is involved in the onset of male puberty. Legally, steroids can help patients with low levels of testosterone and diseases like cancer or AIDS, but athletes use them to enhance the body’s natural muscle mass. When we lift weights heavier than usual, our muscle fibers tear and heal to make bigger and stronger muscles. Then, when the process is repeated, our muscles grow and grow. Using steroids does this at a faster pace, which is unhealthy.

Steroids can cause many health risks including heart attacks, HIV, liver cancer and many other diseases. In men, steroids can cause infertility, and in women, sterility. Women can also experience excessive growth of body hair. Male pattern baldness can affect both sexes, as well as changes in secondary sexual characteristics.

And, the legal ramifications are pretty severe too. “Simple possession of anabolic steroids carries a max penalty of one year in prison and a minimum $1,000 fine for a first drug offense. The maximum penalty for trafficking is five years in prison and a fine of $250,000 if it is a first felony drug offense. If it’s the second felony drug offense, the max period of custody and the max fine both double,” according to the Drug Enforcement Agency. All of the major professional sports associations have banned the use of steroids because of their hazardous side effects and the unfair advantage given to players that use them.

Bonds was a super star baseball player whose reputation was damaged because he was accused of using PEDs. Eight years of being investigated for steroid allegations ended with a 30-day sentence served at home. The former star was found guilty in April 2011, not for using steroids, but for misleading grand jurors. Even without prison time, the case has left its mark on the seven-time National League MVP. His 762 career home runs, a record 73 homers in 2001, and his ticket to the Hall of Fame are all in doubt. Bonds was sentenced to two years of probation, 250 hours of community service, a $4,000 fine and 30 days of home detention. Many other athletes’ reputations (Roger Clemens, Manny Ramirez and Alex Rodriguez come to mind) have also been affected negatively by their association with PED allegations.

Athletes that have been caught using steroids and other PEDs  have cast dark clouds over their own careers and their respective sport. This, combined with the heavy toll they take on the user’s health, and the criminal and monetary penalties they could suffer when  caught, are good reasons why every sport should continue to take measures to keep players from using them.