Major league baseball’s recent decision to tighten up on its drug testing policy weakens the rights of a consumer in a free market economy at the expense of possibly saving their life. Professional athletes who resort to performance enhancing drugs are at a great health risk. Balding, heart failure, kidney, and liver problems are just some of the debilitating side effects. The purity of the capitalistic system is at risk though however. Surely, one can see the irony of a society trying to stay safe and healthy by poisoning its economic principles. The issues in greater detail have to do with the sanctity of craft, the safety of the participant, the entertainment value of the deed, and the ever important double standard.
People like their athletes and the events they partake in to be pure, clean, and free of disease. This is merely out of respect for the sanctity of the craft. Economically however, these restrictions on filth and impurity poison the legitimacy of a people’s claim to the free market economy. Free market economies don’t place restrictions on what items can be bought or sold, injected, or absorbed.
Without good health, athletes have no future, but should that decision be left up to the individual? Society does not think so. Society feels that they have an obligation to protect the individual from themselves. This is very nice, but again the economic principle suffers because the economic principle says that the exchange market should be free and private.
Home run and sprinting records have tremendous entertainment value. Are performance enhancing drugs the sole reason for these crowning achievements? Regardless if they are or if they are not, the fact remains that these supplements do elevate the level of competition. Major league baseball has decided that this elevated level of competition does not compare to the importance of the athletes health. In turn, making a buck or two on remarkable feats does drive the value of the product up, but these feats must be accomplished in a safe way.
The double standard offers an interesting argument. The double standard says that if professional athletes are not allowed to use performance enhancing drugs then why should actresses have access to breast implants, why should employees have access to coffee, why should men and women have access to sexual stimulants to enhance their bed time performance? The issue again is defeated by the emerging principle in this discussion: health. The risks of the other performance enhancing procedures and drugs listed above are not as extreme as those associated with the use of steroids.
When Major League baseball decided to strengthen its drug testing policy, the stability of the economy took a blow at the cost of promoting good health. How ironic. It is clear that some of the issues that should be considered when discussing the use of performance enhancing drugs in professional sports are the sanctity of the sport, the value of it’s entertainment, and it’s comparison to similar remedies in other areas of life. Baseball has reiterated however that all of these issues fail in comparison to the importance of the athlete’s health. In other words, health is paramount; it just may cripple the economy.
Maximizing kinetic energy is a means to exercising a medium. The player’s should be held responsible. This is not social studies. This is a business and the business is making money. Bigger numbers mean bigger records, crowds, and dollar revenues. Sportsmanship is an evolutionary process. Major league baseball should take it’s head out of its 19th century roots and adapt to the 21st century game. There are still 4 balls, 3 strikes, 9 innings, 9 position players, and the team that scores the most runs wins. When baseball starts adapting to rules that are found in sports like golf, water polo, and hop scotch, then consider strengthening the fundamental base. Until then, be an individualist and adapt to the new technologies. These new records are so much better for the game.