Dawson on sports:

Steroids are as big of a part of professional sports these days as Don King’s hair is to his reputation. Shawne Merriman’s positive testing for the steroid nandrolone this past week may have come as a surprise to some, but the fact that professional athletes use steroids is no longer a secret.

People can complain that steroids have ruined sports, but in my mind they haven’t at all. Everybody talks about how using steroids is cheating, but if every team has these guys, which I’m sure that they do, then it levels the playing field.

Obviously there are major health risks that come with using steroids, but if players have accepted these risks on their own bodies, then I can too. Hey, it isn’t my health, so who am I to tell them they shouldn’t do it.

I’m like anyone, I like seeing guys hit 500-foot homers. I like watching faster plays and bigger, harder hits.

If a guy can throw a ball a couple of miles-per-hour faster or a few feet farther because of steroids, than it becomes an even more exciting event. Pro athletes are entertainers. They get paid big money to attract people to watch them, and if taking steroids is going to help put on a better show, then fine. You wouldn’t want to see a beauty pageant where none of the contestants are allowed to wear makeup right?

You may argue that it isn’t fair that someone like Barry Bonds will break the all-time homerun record only because he used steroids when players from past generations didn’t. It’s true, he will. But who cares?

If steroids were around when Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb were playing, they would have snatched them up faster than a fat kid gobbles movie theater popcorn. But they weren’t around then, so they couldn’t. Because air conditioners weren’t around during that time either, should cool air be banned from clubhouses in the summer?

If you still think it’s wrong, then when Bonds hits homerun number 756 tell yourself that Hank Aaron still holds the record in your mind and get on with your day. I know I will.

Why are people who use steroids looked at as such bad people when someone who flops to draw a fowl, or drops a ball, but pretends that he didn’t is just someone playing smart?

If players are using steroids, then it shows that they care about winning along with their personal performance. They are doing everything that they can to perform at their highest potential, and if they are willing to risk their health to hit a ball harder then who can blame them.

If you don’t agree with this and refuse to watch steroid controlled athletes, there’s still professional bowling, although when the PBA starts a steroid testing policy that may be lost as well.

My only problem with steroids and the people who use them is that they never just admit to using them and accept the consequences. Merriman said that if he took steroids, it was unintentional. Rafael Palmeiro has the worst case of denial. Palmeiro, who is one of the all-time great hitters, tested positive for steroids in 2005 and he still denies that there’s any way he took steroids. Well if a blood test says that you did then I’m going to believe it even if you plead ignorance.

It’s pretty hard to unknowingly take steroids. I don’t believe for a second that anybody puts something into his or her body without knowing what it is.

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