First, it was the sentencing of David Jacobs on May 1. This former Plano bodybuilder was slapped with three year’s probation and a monetary fine of $25,000 for conspiring to possess with intent to distribute anabolic steroids. Two other co-conspirators were sentenced along Jacobs. The other four co-defendants are still awaiting their sentencing.

Jacobs was the ring leader of the Texas-based steroid distribution network. Based on his confession, he had supplied anabolic steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs to NFL players. He said he sold steroids and human growth hormone directly to NFL offensive lineman Matt Lehr and another NPL player. The players, in turn, supplied said compounds to a handful of NFL players.

Then the trial of controversial track coach Trevor Graham. Graham was found guilty of lying to federal authorities regarding his relationship with Heredia, a self-confessed steroid dealer and user. Heredia has testified that he had supplied Graham performance-enhancing drugs, including steroids, to the latter’s Sprint Capitol track team. During the trial, several names were mentioned by Heredia. Heredia said he provided steroids and other banned substances directly or through Graham to high-profile athletes, such as Marion Jones, Tim Montgomery, and Antonio Pettigrew.

Major League Baseball has also been rocked by steroid scandals. Jose Canseco, Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, and Mark McGwire’s careers have been tainted by use of steroids and other banned substances.

What are steroids and why is their use so rampant in sports?

Steroids are synthetic substances similar to the male sex hormone testosterone. They do have legitimate medical uses; they are used in treatment of diverse conditions such as anemia, HIV-related symptoms, and hypogonadism. The term steroids, however, became a household term because of their use as physique- and performance-enhancing drugs.
There are many studies and anecdotal reports that steroids are capable of boosting both the physique and performance of an athlete. Pettigrew, for example, in his testimony in the trial of his former coach has acknowledged that once he started taking banned substances, he was able to run 400 meters in the 43-second range for the first time. “I was running incredible times as I was preparing for track meets,” he said. “I was able to recover faster.”