In any sport, whether it’s the MLB, NFL or NBA, one sentiment remains essential more than anything else; winning. To some, the innate drive and determination to be the best overshadows the moral guidelines that are paramount in keeping sports competitive and fair. While it would seem obvious that the use of banned substances is a dishonorable path to travel upon, some are willing to view performance-enhancing drugs as ethical ambiguities. Even when it seemed that PED’s were slowly becoming a long winded pipe dream of the past, there is always a legendary icon who eventually steps forward in attempt to emphatically acknowledge their conceded mistake in hopes of garnering sympathy from shell shocked fans. Unfortunately, more often than not, athletes that are involved in these illegal predicaments use their newly found respect to deceive fans and the media into believing they are making drastic changes to their flourishing careers. In actuality however, baseball players resort to deception and even bold faced lies in order to keep their star-studded demeanors intact. Even if the risks of lying out weigh the benefits of getting away with it, players are fully aware that even if they are caught read handed, all they’ll really lose is $10,000 and a small group of bandwagon fans.
With that in mind, professional athletes need to realize how a simple white lie about using an illegal substance can not only alter their own prestigious image, but also how their careless and classless actions can demoralize young fans who desire to emulate these players. While to an individual player it may seem that their ill-advised actions are only affecting their prominent persona in the sporting realm, they are also simultaneously destroying the hopes of the next generation of potential athletes that will come after them. As a result, impressionable youngsters will become what they hate while forever damning the moral values that have made sports such a beloved and respected past time that is capable of uniting people of all backgrounds to support a cause that epitomizes eternal nostalgia.
As of recently, one player in particular has been placed under an unwanted limelight for being potentially linked to a biogenesis clinic that supplies banned substances to professional athletes. Ryan Braun, the left fielder of the Milwaukee Brewers, is now facing allegations of not only being linked to this biogenesis clinic but also as a frequent recipient of PED’s from their clinic. Of course, this isn’t the first time Braun has been caught up in this type of controversial cheating. In October 2011, a confidential urine test was conducted which allegedly had tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone. If convicted, Braun would have faced a 50 game suspension, but luckily for him a second test was conducted by a independent laboratory which eventually came up with results that contradicted the first test. As a result, Braun was successfully able to appeal his drug test in January of 2012, mainly because there were questions as to how the test sample was handled. In the end, Braun was able to smoothly avoid any type of conviction despite the initial test that condemned him as a PED user. After Braun was acquitted from the accusations that had been placed upon him, he decided to hold a press conference in which he vehemently denied his involvement with banned substance stating, “If I had done this intentionally, or unintentionally, I’d be the first to step up and say I did it.”
At the time, Braun’s feigned humility seemed to finally absolve him of any wrong doing that he had been suspected of during his first run in with PED’s. However, since Braun’s alleged involvement with a Biogenesis clinic, his moral standings and his holier than thou attempt to dictate his innocence have come into question. Yet, even if Braun his found to be guilty of these recent allegations, what will change because of this? Will Braun be forced to deal with his inner demons to fully realize the damage he has caused to the MLB as a whole? Or, will Braun simply admit his mistakes in attempt to extinguish any anger or animosity that will inevitably be directed his way after he mislead the fans and the media for so long?
While it is uncertain how Braun will be handled when all is said and done, there need to be mandates in place that discourage player deception. Even with severe suspensions that can stop players from participating in team activities for half of the season, it doesn’t stop them from profiting of their ill-advised decision. If the MLB wants to crack down on PED usage more effectively, it needs to be less forgiving instead of giving players miniscule fines and elongated suspensions. In order for these travesties to be completely prevented, players like Ryan Braun need to be called out and subjected to penalties that will truly hurt monetary value in the long run. If an athlete realizes that their illegal undertakings are more apt to hurt them in the financial long run, they won’t make the mistake in the first of not only disgracing the integrity of baseball but will ultimately avoid the personal embarrassment that comes with being involved with cheating of this magnitude.