The popular, politically-correct term used so often in today’s sports world is performance-enhancing drugs. But what does that term mean, really?
The connotation alone is bad, as if laboratories are churning out mutant, cold athlete machines with no heart, no desire, no ability to commit and work harder and longer than others. It’s as if athletes today are not real people, as if many are scared of athletes using drugs to play longer, faster and stronger.
The term vitamin supplement has become a euphemism for a cheater in sports today. Do Creatine, Gatorade, amino acids etc. fall into this category?
The fact is the FDA does not control the vitamin industry as they do the drug industry. Are we to simply accept that we have bigger, stronger, faster athletes in sports today as compared to 20 or 30 years ago because of better eating habits?
How do these athletes get so big?! And Fast?! When I played, a man that was 6-feet, 5-inches tall and 280 pounds was huge, let alone finding a rare 300-plus-pound man. Now it’s the norm! I was considered big as a QB when I was drafted in 1971 at 6-feet-3-inches tall and 205 pounds. Today, there are guys like Matt Schaub (6-5, 245) and Ben Roethlisberger (6-6, 255).
The bottom line is fans want to see the big hits in football, the long touchdown passes, the long home runs, the 100-plus-miles-per-hour fastballs, the 6-foot-10-inch forward who has moves equal to a Billy “White Shoes” Johnson.
We are a sick society and athletes always have been and always will be modern day gladiators for the gambling public. The gamblers want to make sure their bets are covered and if it means the athlete takes drugs to to do it, then the fans will continue turn a deaf ear and blind eyes because they don’t really care. When I played I was stuck with needles to drain fluids and inject cortisone. I was given pain killers and anything else to keep me in the game with no questions asked. I was given Qualudes as a sleep aid by our trainer. Were those performance enhancing drugs? Was that OK to do?
It is hypocrisy to believe those in Congress condemning Roger Clemens didn’t also pay a lot of money to watch him pitch, oblivious to why or how he became a dominant pitcher. Some, likely, even gambled on games in which Clemens played.
Roger Clemens was screwed by Congress from Day One. The man has proved his innocence. It was a witch hunt from the beginning.
Roger was a dominant force from day one because of a work ethic approached by no one else, with the possible exception of Nolan Ryan. Yes, science helped Roger as it did any and all athletes with the desire to perform at his very best. Such was the case when I played, as outlined in my book, Taking Flak, and such is the case today.
The heart, desire and commitment to be the best has not changed in recent years — only science has changed.
It’s time we leave the man alone and let he and his family get on with their lives. I personally like and respect the man. I do not like what our government tried to do to him and sports in general.
Dan Pastorini is a former Oilers and Raiders quarterback. Check out his book Taking Flak – My Life In The Fast Lane, the story of his life and career.