"It may be time to rethink some of this stuff" - Chuck Klosterman, ESPN.com
[EDITOR'S NOTE] - I am not well versed in performance enhancing drugs, other than what I've read at sites like espn.com and recently in Jose Canseco's book. I look at this post as a way to open a dialogue here at Niners Nation about an issue that will not be going away anytime soon.
For those that frequent the World Wide Leader, you may or may not have noticed a provocative and intriguing article by Chuck Klosterman, noted pop culture journalist. The article is titled "Why we look the other way" and Klosterman uses this article to discuss some of the blatant hypocrisies that exist in the world, namely performance-enhancing drugs and what we really think about them.
I won't claim to be an award-winning journalist or an expert on the topic of performance enhancing drugs. However, I think this is as good a forum as any to discuss such a timely topic, considering the stories that are popping up every day. Public opinion generally agrees that they do not want their athletes using steroids to gain an upper hand, no matter the sport. However, Klosterman brings up two excellent points in considering the hypocrisy surrounding the use of illegal drugs in the performance of athletes AND non-athletes.
Consider the use of mind altering drugs by artists ranging from The Beatles, Jack Kerouac and Pink Floyd. People discuss it but there is not a negative reaction to the art the drugs created. While the drugs in question are clearly different than steroids, they are still performance altering.
At the same time, consider what we expect from players in college and the NFL. Football is a violent sport and these players are physical in a nature that can not be remotely considered in most other sports. Consider what I'm about to say a sort of devil's advocate position to draw out discussion. We say we don't want steroids in the game, but considering the violent nature of the game, are we really just kidding ourselves? Maybe it's more like we don't want our own kids to get involved with that, but we still want to be entertained every Saturday and Sunday? Is this simply the next evolution in professional sports? Back in the "good ole days," training camp was the opportunity for players to get back into shape after working a full time job in the off-season. As salaries have gone up, players no longer need additional jobs and can spend their off-season staying in top shape. Is the next stage in athletic evolution the addition of chemical enhancements (or are we already in that next stage)?
I'm not sure how many of you have read Jose Canseco's book, Juiced. I didn't read it until a few weeks ago, but he managed to make some intriguing points. I'm not educated about steroids enough to know if they're right, but they definitely make you think. A major point he makes is that chemical enhancements are in fact the next step in the evolution of the professional athlete and that if taken correctly, they can enhance one's life. Again, I'm not claiming he's right or wrong, but simply throwing that out there.
So really, I just want to throw this open for discussion because I'd love to hear what my fellow NFL fans feel about this issue, particularly your take on Klosterman's article if you read it. I've been thinking about this for a couple days and decided now is as good a time as any to open this up.