15 November 1996
Drugs: Hurt Players and Sports
Brett Favre, Diego Maradona, and Darryl Strawberry are all big name sport stars. They all play different sports, but all have the same problem: they tested positive for using illegal drugs. Cocaine, anabolic steroids, and painkillers are just a sample of drugs found in sports. Cocaine is described this way, ?It makes you feel like you can do anything, and for athletes who long to be in control all the time, that?s a strong temptation? (Coffey 1). Anabolic-androgenic steroids are synthetic forms of hormones that produce muscle faster (Rozin 176). Over fifty percent of the players in the National Football League are weekend or recreational users of cocaine (Burwell 1) . Forty-four Olympians have been caught with steroid use since 1972 (Corelli 28). Through Favre?s painkillers, Strawberry?s and Maradona?s cocaine, one can see that drugs hurt the athletes as well as the sport.
First Brett Favre, who was the Most Valuable Player in the National Football League last season, entered a drug abuse center for his addiction to Vicodin, a very strong painkiller (Plummer 129 ). Favre had problems because of Vicodin. Favre suffered a seizure in February while in surgery to repair a broken bone. The seizure resulted from the abuse of the painkiller (Howard 1). Favre states, ?I went to Topeka, because the pills had gotten the best of me?
( qtd. in Plummer 129). Favre?s daughter Brittany asked his wife Deanna, ?Is he going to die?? (qtd. in Plummer 129). He not only scared himself but his family as well. Favre not has to submit up to ten urine tests a month. His losses were internal as well. ?It is kind of embarrassing,? says Favre; ?I will do whatever it takes? (qtd. in Plummer 133). He spent several weeks in rehabilitation but was not be fined or suspended. If caught again his charge will be a four game suspension with loss of pay.
Another famous athlete, Diego Maradona, was once considered the most skilled soccer player in the world. Now he is considered a loser. Maradona was banned from international soccer play for testing positive for cocaine. Shortly after that, he was arrested for cocaine possession (Longman 1). The fifteen month suspension ended in time for Maradona to play in the 1994 World Cup. He was then caught with five illegal drugs in his system. One doctor called it a ?cocktail drug” (Sports Illustrated 10). He was then kicked out of the World Cup. ?This latest behavior will no doubt further damage Maradona?s already sagging reputation, “said U. S. soccer team member Claudia Reyna (Longman 1). Drugs hurt Maradona?s health and reputation and prevented him from becoming a World Cup champion. Maradona wanted to leave the World Cup stage a champion. Instead he left as its most pathetic figure (Sports Illustrated 10).
As a final example, National League rookie of the year for 1983 and 1986 world series champ, Darryl Strawberry had a great future going for him, but not anymore. Strawberry checked himself into the Betty Ford Center for cocaine abuse (Verducci 16). Five months later he tested positive for cocaine. After this, Strawberry had no team to call his own, as he was suspended from baseball (Verducci 17). Strawberry entered his third rehabilitation center in five years (Verducci 18). Drugs kept Strawberry away from his family. Ruby, his mother, said, ?He didn?t care what was going on with the family. He was not in touch with us? ( qtd. in Verducci 20 ). Cocaine can take a person away from a lot of things, but taking away from a
family has to be the worst. Strawberry has had three wives, and five children by those three. Ruby said about the second, ?His marriage was a bad one from the beginning?( qtd. inVerducci 22). Cocaine took many valued things away from Strawberry: his wives, children, family, baseball, and, of course, money. Strawberry has since come clean and was a member of the New York Yankee World Championship team.
These athletes not only hurt themselves but their respected sports. These professionals are looked at as heroes. Little children think these athletes can do no wrong. It would be dangerous for parents to let their children to have Daryl Strawberry as a hero. Drug charges are also an embarrassment to the sport. ?It dents the sport a little,? said Roy Wegerle about Maradona?s charges. Fernando Clavijo said that soccer players, like other athletes, are role models, and ?we have to be careful what we do? (Longman 1). It would be difficult to tell a kid who wants to be like Maradona, ?No son you do not want to be like him.? These popular players become suspended, therefore fewer people come to the games, which means less money for the sport. Drugs are hurting sports everywhere. In 1994, the Chinese woman?s swim team captured six gold and three silver medals in the world championships held in Rome, everyone shouted ?steroids!? ?How else could anyone get so good so fast? (Rozin 176)? It has nothing to do with what sport it is, drugs can have a major effect on it.
Though the use of drugs seems to be getting greater, the control of them is getting stronger too. This past summer, in Atlanta, the Olympic Games held its biggest drug crackdown in history. In the National Football League, random drug testing is becoming effective. There are officials that report to every team and educate about drug use. Then there is always rehabilitation (Burwell 1). Suspensions are greater than ever and fines are outrageous. The chance to play and perform must outweigh the desire to experiment with drugs and suffer the painful consequences of drug abuse.
Burwell, Bryan. ?The NFL Confronts the Burgeoning Drug Crisis.? Social Issues Resources Series
August 21, 1983, Article #54 Volume 2.
Coffey, Wayne. ?Cocaine Back in Sports News, and Many Ask About Bias?Death.? New York Daily News. May 20, 1996.
?Cornered Kicker.? Sports Illustrated. July 11, 1994. Volume 81.
Corelli, Rae. ?The Drug Detectives.? Maclean?s . July 22, 1996, Volume 109.
Longman, Jere. ?Maradona?s Suspension Disappoints U.S. Team? New York Times. July 1, 1994.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. ?Packers QB Favre Enters Substance Abuse Program.? May 15, 1996.
Plummer, William. ?Beating the Blitz.? People. October 28, 1996.
Rozin, Skip. ?Steroids and Sports: What Price Glory?? Business Week. October 17, 1994.
Sports Illustrated. ?Cornered Kicker.? July 11, 1994. Volume 81.
Verducci, Tom. ?The Hard Price of Hard Living.? Sports Illustrated.. February 27, 1995. Volume 82.
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