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On Harrison: People need to get over steroids already

Yes: any substance that has harmful effects on a players’ health should be banned. And Harrison should be punished for breaking the rules. And I’d love to see harmful steroids and supplements eliminated.

First, many of us break the rules every day - stealing from work, lying on taxes, speeding, intentionally running red lights, watching or listening to copyrighted material online, bloging at work thus stealing company time, etc, and no one calls us "liars, cheaters, and thieves" - yet we are.

The fact is many of our favorite players use steroids, HGH, banned performance-enhancing substances, etc - they just haven't been caught (I'd bet a large sum that Harrison isn't the only well-loved Patriot who has used questionable substances). I'd also wager that almost all championship teams of the last 20 years across all leagues include prominent users, so the Pats’ record is no more or less tainted than anyone else.

Steroids were prevalent in baseball during the 70s. But up until the last few years, testing in baseball has sucked. This means it is possible that many of your 70s & 80s "pre-steroid era" baseball heroes juiced. Yet they will never be held accountable because we can't go back in time and test them. All the while they can act "shocked" and "disgusted" that today's players juice up.

The only players being called "cheaters and thieves" are the ones that get caught. And NFL players are on the cutting edge of "supplements" - legal, illegal, or not-yet-but-soon-to-be-illegal. If you read about the pro-sports/dietary supplement industry, you'll see that most players are taking high-tech "supplements", some of which are not banned or untestable. Remember, when McGwire was taking Andro, it wasn't banned or illegal.

There is a rule, and Harrison broke it. We as fans should be mad for several reasons: his suspension lets his team down, lets us down, and he hurts his future health and potentially his family.

Again, you break a rule, you get punished. But I wonder: if taking a performance-enhancing substance is cheating, are all performance-enhancing substances cheating, or only the ones currently illegal or banned by the league? And if we don't know the extent of who is using which substances - banned or not banned - is it right to use such strong words as "liar, cheater, and thief" for Harrison to draw contrast to the non-positive testing players, some of whom are users but have not been caught?

I'm not suggesting that if Harrison is closer to the rule than the exception that the norm should be acceptable - a norm of dangerous substances should not be acceptable; I am saying that this problem lacks a clear binary. Just because a player hasn't been caught doesn't mean that a player is clean. There is enough evidence of rampant performance-enhancing substance use that no professional athlete is 100% beyond suspicion, therefore Rodney Harrison, while a rule breaker, is not the horrible black stain the media has made steroid users out to be in the last 10 years. He is a guy who f'ed up, just as the rest of us are inclined to do.

Let Rodney do his penance. He’s an old, oft-injured, exciting football player, not a Senator, Attorney General or President. I look forward to seeing Rodney (who, by the way, is considered by fellow players the NFL’s dirtiest) back in the lineup and hitting the crap out of opponents from week 5 through the post season.

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Comments

Comparing a traffic violation to steroid use is just stupid. One is a personal violation and the other breaks the trust of people who pay good money to see professional sports games.

I would liken steroid use by professional sports players to a plagiarism by a popular author . It is deceitful and it is wrong.

Oh, and by the way, I don't knowingly view or listen to illegally obtained copyrighted material, lie on my taxes, nor steal from my work. I don't think I am holier than you ... Just a better person.

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Who ever said any analogy was perfect?

Your plagiarism analogy fails because Harrison is not stealing another person's work and passing it of as his own.

Maybe you should have used this analogy: Sports is entertainment and in entertainment it is a well established norm to change one's body through fake boobs, nose jobs, make up, airbrushing, etc. Just like in sports, economics drives the forces behind artificial body changes. Harrison is only different from an actress who had plastic surgery to extend her career because in Harrison's industry their is a rule against what he did.

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Steroids are not controlled so that ticketholders to major sporting events don't feel slighted.

Steroids are controlled because they are dangerous when used in excess for the wrong reasons. Steroid abuse is not limited to pro athletes, either. There are too many young men and women still in high school and college, wannabes and never gonna bes, who will still permanently damage their health with steroids.

Mental illness (depression, "roid rage", deterioration of relationships). Liver destruction. Deterioration and atrophy of sex-specific structures. These are long-term consequences paid for by your money and mine. Who pays when Johnny Roid needs a liver transplant? Not Johnny, since he never made the athletic big time, and spent all his money on sauce and weight lifting equipment, at least what little money he had.

It isn't just about the integrity of professional sports. Who cares? It is about the millions of everyday jocks saucing up to be big, act big, lift big, and never make the big money who then load up the healthcare system with their utterly preventable problems.

Steroids are a costly public health problem that far outweighs their pro sports spoiling issues.

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I wanted to say more on this topic, but my post was already long enough.

Not to mention if a substance user dies 10 years earlier than s/he otherwise would, it robs the family of time with that person and could have profound residual economic impacts beyond health costs.

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