Should Performance Enhancing Drugs be Legalized in Professional Sports

For many years, the use of performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) was thought to be absurd, impractical and somewhat bizarre. While there are currently no professional sports that allow the use of performance enhancing drugs, recently arguments on whether they should be used or not have sparked some controversy in the sports world. An ethical argument for the refuting the legalization is he spirit of the game will be diminished and demoralized. However, the use of PEDs could make sports a lot more entertaining as well as save the organizations a substantial amount of money on the tests used to enforce the strict drug policies that they have.

Although everyone has the choice to what they want with their own body, performance enhancing drugs have been known to have potential side effects that can greatly deteriorate a person’s health and have even proven fatal. Be that as it may, it is believed that one reason PEDs can be so harmful to the body is because they are taken improperly and often times excessively, but if they were legalized they could be more efficiently regulated, making them much safer. Even though the sports-entertainment industry is a business, legalizing these drugs would lead to the promotion of them and with the known threats it leads to the overall argument of money or morals. This is the ultimate question in determining the answer to this debate because the majority of the reasons in support of this come down to money as not only would sports organizations save money, but new economic opportunities would occur as a new and most likely large industry would be present. While the main reasons for the opposing side are, the ethics and morals involved in the discussion and whether or not it would be right or wrong, to not only do this to athletes, but to the sports world as a whole.

The debate on whether PEDs should be legalized is a somewhat recent discussion. Advocates refuting the argument claim that athletes taking these drugs will greatly diminish the spirit of the game. Many see these substances as ways to succeed with minimal effort, or in other words a form of cheating. Professionals athletes are supposed to the best in the world, through talent, but more importantly the intense hard work and commitment they have put into the sport throughout their whole life. However, with the use of PEDs athletes would not have to sacrifice as much time and effort, making athletes much less respectable. One example of this occurred in 2006, when numerous allegations spread throughout the MLB and in the Tour De France causing many people to begin questioning the legitimacy of records set by athletes (Fort). In addition to this, the legalization of PEDs could bring along a serious cause and effect issue. While the legalization of PEDs would only be for professional athletes, amatuer players may be influenced greatly to use these drugs in order to get to the next level and further their athletic careers. Therefore, the legalization of PEDs may deteriorate the game at professional levels as well as younger levels which may prove dangerous to younger users. This argument is a compelling one because while some people may think PEDs will bring excitement and different levels of intensity to the game, there is also many who believe that the game will not be the same for different reasons.

Ratings may plummet drastically and athletes may be stereotyped to an even greater extent. One survey conducted had shown that about 51% of US adults found the olympics less enjoyable “knowing that the athletes had been caught using PEDs” (Foundation). Also, with money being a crucial factor in business decisions, this argument becomes an even more compelling one. Considering the losses that the industry could face, they may be more cautious in making their decision. Another argument against the use of PEDs, is the health risks that are associated with them. These drugs have proven to be very dangerous and in certain instances, fatal. In particular, PEDs have been known to cause: “increased risk of tendinitis and tendon rupture, liver abnormalities and tumor, increased bad cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart and circulatory issues, psychiatric disorders, and even infections such as HIV or hepatitis when a needle is used to inject the drugs” (Mayo). This creates an extremely compelling argument refuting the question, as players may feel they need to examine the issue a bit further to decide whether or not PEDs are worth it. After realizing the potential hazards associated with these substances, athletes may feel less obliged to take these drugs. In addition to this, these health hazards may force certain sports corporations to look at some of their star athletes who bring these industries their largest sums of money. They would abhor losing the players that are doing extremely well without using PEDs and jeopardizing  their career over non-essential drugs is an enormous risk. This creates a very powerful argument against the use of PEDs. The entries provided by Mayo Clinic are very credible as the authors of these are all experts. The authors of each article specialize in the field of science that is being discussed. The source used above was written by the Mayo Clinic Staff which consist of a team of experts in content, development and production.

Professional physicians, scientists, doctors and other medical specialists have taken time to use this website as a way to share the same knowledge and experience they have received through years of experience. In addition, the Foundation for Global Sports Development is also another highly credible source, their prominence in the sports industry and promotion of equality along with them being highly unbiased makes them another extremely credible source. The entries provided by Rodney Fort are credible as he has studied sports economics since the early 90’s, he has written or co-authored over 100 articles and is one of the most renowned sports management professors in the world. Furthermore, the credibility of these sources greatly strengthen the argument against the use of PEDs. Although the opposing side offers strong arguments against the use of performance enhancing drugs, there are many convincing arguments in support of their legalization. One being, the amount of money that the sports industry could save if PEDs were legalized. For instance, sports corporations spend an estimated $30,000 to $40,000 a year per athlete (Hermann and Henneberg). Multiply this by the fifty-three players on the thirty-two teams and the NFL is looking at an extremely large sum of money. That being said, through the legalization of PEDs industries would save a numerous amount of money as well as time put into to testing each one of these athletes individually.

Furthermore, the use of PEDs would make games much more exciting and entertaining.  This may result in increased fan bases and audiences allowing these businesses to possibly profit even more. This would also offer business opportunities for athletes as they may sign with new sponsors of PEDs. Altogether, this argument is a very compelling one, as it not only gives examples on how sports companies and athletes may save or gain a countless amount of money, but it also refutes the point of sports ratings go down. Although some people view the use of drugs as cheating, there is actually many people in favor of the use of PEDs. One study discussing the ethical impacts of PEDs stated “sports fans are equally divided on whether or not athletes should have the option to use PEDs” (Osei-Hwere).   Mentioned earlier, were some of the potential side effects and health risks that have been commonly associated with the use of PEDs. Yet, this often occurs due to improper and excessive use. With the legalization of PEDs however, with well-trained doctors and physicians overlooking the use the drugs, they would be much better regulated, drastically decreasing the potential for negative side effects. Though many have argued that even with the dangerous side effects, they have the right to choose what they want to do with their bodies and it should not be determined for them. Still, PEDs are not as dangerous as once preconceived, as  long as proper regulation routines are in place and medical specialists overseeing all operations which is an essential point in this argument. As it provides, a very powerful argument, since one of the main reasons for the continued banning of PEDs was because of the health risks that came along with them. Since these would be somewhat benign and largely reduced if they were legalized, that argument is somewhat invalid. The sources used in this argument were credible.

The information for the estimated cost to test athletes was written by Aaron Hermann who has a PhD, a master in diplomatic studies, bachelors of archeology, and a master in business law and commerce. The co-author was Maciej Henneberg who also has a PhD, a doctorate in anthropology, and a masters in human biology. Both of these writers have a lot of experience and have worked for multiple different credible companies, making this source a very credible, unbiased one. Dr. Osei-Hwere has a PhD in mass communication from Ohio University and in is argument he addresses both sides which also makes him a reliable source. Therefore, the argument for the use of PEDs is also made a more compelling one. Overall, within this argument there is a multitude of factors included within in each side. However, one of the main counterclaims for people refuting the use of PEDs is invalid. Since these PEDs would be much more regulated they would be much safer. Although this greatly the health risks are not completely eliminated, they are drastically reduced. With this argument diminished, I do believe they should be legalized in professional sports.They have the potential to make sports more entertaining, as well as generate a lot more income for the industries involved. Although they won’t be really dangerous, more research may need to be done in order to completely extinguish any health hazards associated with PEDs so major athletes aren’t forced to retire early or are harmed. With modern technology and sciences this should not be a very difficult issue to deal with. Also through further use of these products, more information will be found out about these PEDs and within a short period of time they should no longer pose any threats to athletes, whatsoever. The legalization of these drugs would affect the sports industry greatly. New money would be coming in from many different areas and ratings have the potential to spike through the roof.

Olympic athletes would truly be a different breed and new businesses, as well as sponsors may rise. Therefore, performance enhancing drugs have the potential to benefit the economy greatly through new businesses that may emerge. Altogether, the benefits of PEDs greatly outweigh the miniscule negative effects of them and the legalization of them may bring many new opportunities in and outside of the sports world, that could be rewarding for a lot of people.

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Should performance enhancing drugs be legalized in professional sports. (2021, Mar 29). Retrieved September 23, 2022 , from

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