The office of baseball's commissioner, Bud Selig, is considering suspending these players for up to 100 games.
Presupposed by this punishment and baseball's ban is the principle that using PEDs is wrong.
Even at the height of baseball's steroids era, there were those who chose to play clean.
Consider former Major Leaguer Doug Glanville, a personal friend who first inspired me to think about these issues.
Or is our preference merely arbitrary, like our preference for a game that encourages stretching and singing in the seventh inning rather than the sixth? Relatively little is known about the long-term effects of drugs such as steroids because, as the Mayo Clinic notes, it's unethical to design studies to test for those effects.
But it's unlikely that PEDs are as benign as calcium supplements.So perhaps the problem with PEDs is that they are used for the wrong reasons.Consider Lance Armstrong, who explained to Oprah Winfrey that his use of drugs stemmed from his "ruthless desire to win--to win at all costs." Or consider A-Rod, who used PEDs in the early 2000s "to prove to everyone that I was worth being one of the greatest players of all time." There is clearly something disturbing about an obsession with perfection that drives us towards using illegal substances.Boxers, soccer players, and football players suffer concussions, runners and basketball players blow out their knees, and tennis players injure their ankles and elbows.The first marathoner, Pheidippides, collapsed dead from the effort, and many since have suffered the same fate.Our disapproval of PEDs is surely more than a disapproval of the hyper-competitive spirit that motivates their use. They're expensive, and not everyone can afford them.This problem is particularly acute in international competitions such as the Olympics, where poorer countries struggle to provide their athletes with cutting-edge technologies and facilities.We should all agree that athletes who use outlawed PEDs are cheating.They are breaking the rules and giving themselves an unfair advantage.We could rewrite the rules to significantly reduce these harms--marathons could be shortened, and the NFL could adopt the playground rules of "two-hand touch"--but we don't. If PEDs were much more harmful than sports themselves, the argument could be made that they should be banned because they're especially unsafe.But there is little evidence to suggest that the side effects of PEDs are that bad.