September 29, 2020

Proposal for Major Steroid League Baseball

Mike Markson has an interesting proposal for confronting the problem of anabolic steroids (and performance enhancing drugs) in baseball – “let them cheat.” His steroid comments were included in suggestions to make baseball more exciting.

I started thinking, if I was to come up with a baseball variant to try and take on MLB, what would it look like? Well, it would be baseball, but, I’d market it as a faster, more exciting version. I’d make the following rules changes to try and re-enforce the brand […]

No steroid testing. Leave that for the cops. This is baseball – let’s the conversation revolve around the action on the field, not off of it.

In a previous post, Markson expands on his feelings about steroids in sports with some insightful comments on the issue. [Read more…]

NASCAR and Performance Enhancing Drugs

In light of revelations that NASCAR’s Aaron Fike used heroin on competition days, NASCAR president went on record to defend NASCAR’s drug testing policy based on “reasonable suspicion.”

“The [NASCAR] community polices the community,” Helton added in an interview with The Associated Press. “The positiveness of all the drivers talking and everything, I think, echoes the responsibility that exists in this sport to avoid all that and to police all that. That’s why we think that the reasonable suspicion policy works as an umbrella from a NASCAR perspective.”

Commentator David Caraviello went a step farther, not only defending the “reasonable suspicion” drug testing policy, but also asserting that NASCAR does not have any type of problem with performance-enhancing drugs either (“Addressing a drug problem that is not a problem at all,” April 16). [Read more…]

Cyclist Jan Ullrich Pays Fine for Defrauding Public by Doping

Since doping is not a crime in Germany, German prosecutors sued cyclist Jan Ullrich for fraud based on evidence of the use of banned blood doping and performance-enhancing drugs (“Jan Ullrich draws 1M euro fine in doping fraud case,” April 12).

Disgraced former Tour de France winner Jan Ullrich is to pay out a million euro fine to end a fraud case which German prosecutors have been investigating, Focus news magazine reported on its Web site Saturday.

Prosecutors accused the 1997 Tour de France winner of taking performance-enhancing drugs, leading under German law to fraud charges against the 34-year-old on the basis he deceived the public, sponsors and his team.

The United States does not have laws that specifically criminalize doping in sports. However, the Anabolic Steroid Control Act of 1990, passed as a direct result of doping scandals in sports, criminalizes the non-medical uses of anabolic-androgenic steroids. One of the primary objectives for the act has been to combat “cheating” in sports although it has been largely ineffective for this purpose. Instead, the federal government has had some recent success using perjury laws to prosecute athletes who use steroids. Maybe sports fraud prosecutions will join perjury as an additional way of making examples out of “immoral” athletes.

Cyclist Tammy Thomas Convicted of Perjury; Second Career Destroyed

Cyclist Tammy Thomas has been convicted on three counts of making false statements (perjury) and one count of obstruction of justice. She was acquitted of two counts of perjury (“Cyclist convicted of perjury in BALCO case,” April 4).

Under federal sentencing guidelines, Thomas faces a sentence that likely would range from probation to about two or three years in federal prison for the perjury convictions.

Thomas was specifically accused of lying to the grand jury about using steroids and obtaining performance enhancing drugs from Illinois chemist Patrick Arnold, a key Balco figure who pleaded guilty to manufacturing designer steroids and providing them to elite athletes through the now-defunct Peninsula laboratory.

Tammy Thomas already received a lifetime ban from competitive cycling for doping violations several years. This effectively ended her career as a cyclist. The conviction for perjury in the government’s case against Thomas may have effectively ended the pursuit of a second career as an attorney (“Tammy Thomas found guilty of perjury,” April 4).

“I already had one career taken away from me,” she yelled. “Look me in the eye. You can’t do it.”

Thomas then turned to a prosecutor and shouted, “Look me in the eye …. You like to destroy people’s lives.”

 The government has succeeded in its unstated goal of making an example of an athlete using steroids. Is this justice served?

Human Growth Hormone and Athletic Performance

A recent literature review of the performance enhancing effects of growth hormone has concluded that HGH does not help athletes (“Systematic Review: The Effects of Growth Hormone on Athletic Performance,” Annals of Internal Medicine).

Claims that growth hormone enhances physical performance are not supported by the scientific literature. Although the limited available evidence suggests that growth hormone increases lean body mass, it may not improve strength; in addition, it may worsen exercise capacity and increase adverse events. More research is needed to conclusively determine the effects of growth hormone on athletic performance.

This confirms what J.C. Bradbury, Ph.D. has been saying all along. [Read more…]

Synergistic Effects of Growth Hormone with Performance Enhancing Drugs

Dr. Gary Gaffney from Steroid Nation posted an article on Huffington Post about the performance enhancing effects of human growth hormone. Gaffney responds to so-called experts who assert with certainty that growth hormone does not help performance in sports. As Lou Schuler stated in a recent post, the true effects of growth hormone on performance are not always empirically “knowable and measurable.”

Gaffney takes note of the lack of empirical research examining the performance enhancing effects of drugs that has historically resulted in mainstream medical organizations failing to recognize performance enhancing drugs. Given this along with results seen in “experiments of nature,” Gaffney feels it is reasonable to conclude that GH has performance enhancing effects:

[Read more…]

What Makes a Drug Performance Enhancing?

An article on the Psychology Today blog by Steven Kotler asked the question, “what makes a drug performance-enhancing?” It cites the WADA rules for banning performance enhancing drugs.

According to the World Anti-Doping Code, three substance categories govern the chemistry of cheating—1) It has the potential to enhance or enhances sport performance 2) It represents a potential or actual health risk 3) It is contrary to the spirit of sport—with a score of two-out-of-three being enough to earn a drug a place on the dreaded Prohibited List. [Read more…]

Does Growth Hormone Speed Recovery and Improve Performance?

The debate over the performance-enhancing effects in baseball of growth hormone continues without a clear answer. Does growth hormone help recovery and healing from injury? Does growth hormone improve baseball performance? Various people have made the case that GH  does not help baseball players; others claim the drug helps improve performance dramatically.

Lou Schuler of Male Pattern Fitness has an excellent response to this question:

But the key here is to acknowledge that the only honest way to answer the question of the performance-enhancing effects of human growth hormone is to say, “We just don’t know.” [Read more…]

Therapeutic Use of Testosterone and HGH Granted in Football Players

John Lombardo, M.D. is the drug advisor to the NFL on anabolic steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs. He has granted waivers to football players who have tested positive for anabolic steroids based on medical need. The medical rationale was “testicular disease” in each case.

John Lombardo, has granted waivers to players who have failed drug tests but then explained their medical need for testosterone. NFL spokesman Greg Aiello won’t disclose names or reveal how many players have been allowed to pump synthetic hormones into their bodies except to say it’s “a very small number.”

This is the National League Football (NFL) version of the therapeutic use exemption that can be submitted after failing a drug test. An interesting article by Tom Farrey of ESPN the Magazine suggests this is a precedent opening the door to widespread use of hormones in sports like football. [Read more…]

Roger Clemens Statistical Report Tries to Refute Steroid Allegations

Agents for Roger Clemens at Hendricks Sports Management released a detailed statistical analysis of Roger Clemens’ performance over the course of his career.  In summary, the report lists various factors occurring later in his career that contributed to the maintenance of a high quality of pitching by Roger Clemens. These factors include adaptions in “style of pitching” including “mastery of the split-finger fastball,” reduced pitch count, contractually shortened seasons, and  a reduction in travel.

The report also uses statistics to show that Clemens’ performance had unpredictable “ups and downs” or “peaks and valleys” over the course of his career. The report asserts that “straight trend lines in performance” simply do no exist in Major League Baseball. [Read more…]