Steroids’ real victims get little attention

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Some of baseball’s biggest &045;&045; literally &045;&045; stars appeared before a Congressional commitee Thursday to talk about the problem of steroid use.

They attracted plenty of attention, whether from the crowd gathered to hear them or the media who gave them live coverage.

It was largely a grandstanding event; there isn’t even any pending legislation on the subject. And how else can you explain a nearly tearful Mark McGwire telling members of Congress he wouldn’t rat out his friends, as if the whole thing were some sort of McCarthy hearing?

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Interestingly, though, what has received very little attention are the parents of teenagers who testified about their children’s suicides after taking steroids.

The parents

of two young baseball players testified along with medical experts who talked about the possible effects of the drugs: heart disease, cancer, sterility, depression.

That’s the steroid problem that should be getting more attention.

We don’t believe players should take steroids. It cheapens their sport, it amounts to cheating and it has the potential to ruin their health and set a terrible example. We think the league should strengthen the punishment for players who abuse steroids.

Maybe fans don’t care whether Major League baseball players take drugs, as long as they break home run records.

Maybe how the league punishes baseball players for breaking their lenient rules on steroids shouldn’t be the purview of Congress anyway, considering all of the other things lawmakers have to deal with.

But we should turn the cameras on the real victims of the problem, not the spoiled players who have no idea what kind of example they are setting.