Doping: To administer drugs to an athlete in order to inhibit or enhance sporting performance.
In the realm of professional sports, cheating is as bad as it possibly gets. So why do professional athletes earning millions of dollars per year continuously try to get away with it?
Drug abuse in sports has been an on-going issue since the 1960s and is persistent in most levels of competition. The first ever drug testing of athletes occurred in 1966 at the European Athletic Championships.
Performance enhancing drug use throughout the 1990s MLB home run races and the rise of the NFL in the early 2000s made for some of the most entertaining years in American sports history.
The life of an athlete can be daunting as injuries plague consistently with mental health often taking a back burner in exchange for a successful, worn out champion.
To combat season fatigue, athletes have been known to turn to anabolic steroids, which are natural and synthetic substances that help build muscle mass enabling athletes to train longer and recover quickly from strenuous workouts. Some of these substances include Tetrahydrogestrinone and human growth hormones (HGH), both powerful anabolic-androgenic steroids that provide an unfair advantage in recovery time, strength and fatigue over other clean athletes. The NFL, Olympics, NCAA and the MLB officially banned Androstenedione, a steroid that converts into testosterone, in 2004.
For professional paid athletes, stressors are just a minute reason to turn to substances. Athletes turn to performance enhancing drugs for a plethora of reasons — some need immediate relief from an injury that is preventing them from earning a check that feeds the family, while others quickly attempt to treat an underlying mental illness they are hiding from the team.
Super Bowl LIII champion and MVP Julian Edelman received a four game suspension in the 2018-2019 season for violating the league’s drug policy and was allowed to play in the playoffs despite being popped early in the season for performance enhancing drugs.
While testing positive for some type of unknown substance the same season, it was clear enough to be ruled by the NFL’s drug testers that Edelman held an unfair advantage over competitors using the substance.
It was Edelman who advanced last year’s 11-5 season finishing Patriots deep into the playoffs with spectacular catches racking a career postseason high of 388 yards in 26 touches.
Is he really that good?
Edelman, a seventh round pick out of Kent State, was deemed a non-impact player who would only be of value in the special teams unit, has now captured his third championship ring in style.
So, was it the steroids?
After missing the entire 2017 season due to a torn ACL injury at the age of 32, Edelman needed to return quickly to being a professional crash test dummy who gets ricocheted over the middle by linebackers and defensive backs.
The steroids allowed him to do just that.
While every other major sports league in the nation is strict on the limitations of steriods, the NFL and its commissioner, Roger Goodell, continues to play peek-a-boo.
Allowing habitual drug policy offenders in the league to continue competing amongst clean athletes with no real long-term consequences is just outright absurd right?
Welcome to the NFL.