are commonly used by bodybuilders and athletes of all levels.
You will find steroids in High School sports, steroids in baseball,
steroids in football, and, of course, steroids in the Olympics. All
these sports, and many many more, use anabolic steroids in one form or
another. DO NOT be fooled into thinking that any NFL players are
natural and steroid free. Even retired NFL players admit that at least
70% of their team was using human growth hormone (HGH)!
In 1989, the NFL added steroids
to the list of drugs that it tested players for and could hand out
punishments for. It has gone through some changes, but the real
question is whether or not it works to deter players from actually
using the drugs to help advance their athletic ability and,
consequently, their careers.
The original policy stated that any player who tested positive for
steroid use would be suspended for thirty days as well as subjected to
further testing. Players found to have a second positive test were to
be suspended for the remainder of the season and playoff games.
This steroid-use policy was seen as fairly strict, but the agreement on
how it was to be carried out didn’t stop there. Some supporters of the
policy wanted to be able to do random tests year round while others
only wanted tests throughout the season.
It’s very easy to use steroids in such a manner that the user can avoid
detection if they know when they will be tested. It’s simply a matter
of knowing the specific drug and knowing when to stop so that it can
get out of the system by the test date. Plus, because the players that
choose to use steroids know how and when to stop to make sure the
traces of the drugs are out of their system by the time the test rolls
around, it’s very difficult to know exactly how many players actually
use steroids. In 1989, estimates ranged from six to fifty percent. The
six percent is the number of players who have actually tested positive.
The fifty percent comes from players’ observation saying that about
half of the players have used steroids at some point in their lives.
This is the biggest argument as to why some people wanted to do random
At the time, the Players’ Association was only agreeable to a test in
the preseason. They claimed this to be a violation of their rights.
Proponents of the random year-round testing disagreed and used the
analogy that all sports have rules and regulations such as baseball’s
rule that players are not allowed to have cork in their bats. The bats
can be randomly tested for cork. They say that if the NFL says the
players cannot use drugs to give them an advantage then they should be
able to be tested for drug use.
By 2003, the drug policy had evolved to a 4 game suspension on the
first offense, a six game suspension on the second offence and a
one-year suspension for the third offense. Each week, random players
tested – six players from each team are tested each week. They are
chosen at random through a computer program. The random tests look for
both steroids and masking agents.
Of course, this policy isn’t fool-proof. The 2004 Super Bowl is a prime
example. Three players on the Carolina Panthers were found to have
repeatedly filled prescriptions for steroids yet they never tested
positive for steroid
use. Supposedly, these prescriptions were for doses much
higher than that generally used for testosterone replacement therapy.
So, even though the policies are there and are very strong, steroid
use in the NFL is still present. When you have something that
can give you such great physical benefits, it’s easy to see why the
players are finding ways to use them. And, when some players use
steroids they raise the competitive edge enough to possibly even
convince those players who are on the line about steroid use to take
the plunge and actually try it to save their careers and keep up in an
ever increasingly competitive sports.
Collinswort, Cris. “The Best Policy: NFL’s Drug Testing.” www.nfl.com.
Eskenazi, Gerald. “Taking a Stance Against Steroids in the NFL.” The
New York Times. 24 August 1989.
“Steroids Prescribed to NFL Players.” 60 Minutes. 30 March 2005.
Shea, John. “Bush Calls for Pro Sports to End Use of Steroids.” San
Francisco Chronicle. www.sfonline.com.
“Steroids: Play Safe, Play Fair.” American Academy of Pediatrics.
* Steroids in Baseball and Sports. Ezine Article. Steroids
in Baseball and Sports.