Athletic doping should be eliminated

Meghan Byrd
Contributing Writer

In the face of Lance Armstrong’s doping accusation, one might wonder what the professional sports community has come to represent. It seems that every few months, a new charge is brought forward against an athlete for using illegal performance-enhancing substances. Doping negatively affects athletes, professional athletics and the larger sports community. It is a form of cheating, and users should face hefty consequences in order to deter athletes from utilizing banned substances and hopefully reduce the number of those who choose to do so.

Over the past few years, doping has garnered much controversy in the athletic community. For example, San Francisco Giant and All-Star Most Valuable Player Melky Cabrera was recently suspended for 50 games following a positive test for testosterone and admission to using banned substances. Doping charges seem to occur frequently in baseball, as many well-known players such as Barry Bonds and Manny Ramirez have also been accused of using performance enhancing substances.

However, it is the Armstrong doping case that has been dominating headlines recently. Armstrong is arguably one of the most renowned cyclists in the world, yet his reputation is now cast in a dark light. Although one cannot assume he is guilty of doping, the fact that he is choosing not to defend himself is reason to seriously doubt his claim that he is clean.

In order to enforce fair standards, it is important that national and international organizations send a clear message to athletes: using any performance-enhancing drug is not acceptable and will be met with heavy consequences. In some cases, testing positive for doping can even end some athletes’ careers by banning them from the sport, and such could be the case for Armstrong.

The best course of action for administering consequences to athletes who test positive for banned substance use is to have a two-strike system. The first time an athlete is caught doping, he or she should be issued a warning and suspended for a certain amount of time or number of games that would be left up to the sport association’s discretion. The second time they are found using, they are banned from the sport for life. This method would prove to athletes that doping is a serious offense, and will not be tolerated by their teams, sports, fan base or community.

Many of these athletes are role models for children aspiring to compete at a high level of athletics. If organizations such as the United States Anti-Doping Agency are tough on athletes they believe might be using banned substances, it sets an example for future generations and current professional athletes alike that under no circumstances is doping ever acceptable.

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