Originally Posted by RedsManRick
No, I don't condone cheating in any form and would prefer that nobody cheated in any form.
While I think it's stupid that anybody would risk their health for such marginal gains, I just don't see the moral difference in finding a way to build muscle better so you can hit the ball further and corking your bat, so you can hit the ball further. Cheating is cheating, no?
To take it further, if taking steroids is the worst form of cheating, then what about Lasik eye surgery or cortisone shots? Are those natural?
There seems to be two basic groups of activities: ones that affect the player and one which affect the implements of the game. Are the former worse than the latter due to some structural difference? If steroids were "healthy", would they still be so horrible?
Steroid use is sad and should be strongly discouraged because of the precedent it sets which would encourage others to risk bodily harm for their success. But I think it's a much much grayer conversation than the one that's being held in the media.
For me, the health aspect is a huge aspect of steroids and the one aspect of them that is actually overlooked in the public outcry about them. No, there's not a moral difference between steroids and other forms of cheating, but there is a physical one. And sports are first and foremost a physical endeavor, not a moral one. Sports exist to encourage people to stay in good physical shape and support "healthy" competition. Steroids are directly antithetical to both those things. And so for me it completely takes away the correct message of what sports are supposed to be for those just learning the definition.
If steroids were proven to be healthy, or if certain steroids were solely beneficial or at least solely medicinal -- with benefits that outweigh brief side effects, like some other things you mention -- then yes, I would feel differently about them. Then no player would have to make the choice between his body and his game.
edit: I should point out that by the health aspects of steroids being "overlooked", I mean that they've been buried in the rampant public moral outcry. I still do believe that steroids' negative health effects are at the bottom of the debate regardless. If steroids were good for you, we wouldn't even be having this conversation. They'd be legal and we'd cheer and yawn at the records being broken every year.