Perhaps the oddest thing in all of professional sports these days is the rampant use of Adderall in the NFL. It seems that every time a player gets suspended for using performance enhancing drugs we are told that the drug involved was Adderall. Every now and then it is fertility drugs, but for the most part positive tests seem to be the result of Adderall use. That players take a banned stimulant like Adderall isn’t particularly odd in and of itself, it is that they never seem to take steroids that seem so bizarre.
In Major League Baseball, where super human strength is less important, and quick reflexes are extremely important when trying to hit a small ball travelling at 95 miles an hour, you would think that stimulants like Adderall would be more prevalent than in football and steroids would be less so, but the opposite is in fact true. All kinds of baseball players have tested positive for steroids over the years, far more than NFL players, which is strange given the fact that strength is much more important in football and that the biggest football players outweigh the biggest baseball players by about 100 pounds.
Try to reconcile these facts. Using steroids and human growth hormones, which help humans become much bigger, stronger, and faster, would give a football player a much greater competitive advantage than simply taking some stimulants on game day. Football players routinely violate the NFL’s PED policy and get suspended. The punishment for stimulants like Adderall is the same as the punishment for steroid use.
Given the facts above, how does it make any sense that a player who is willing to cheat and use performance enhancing drugs wouldn’t use the drugs that actually give him the greatest competitive advantage? One reason could be that NFL players are so moral that they simply could not look themselves in the mirror if they were to take such a powerful drug like steroids, but can rationalize the use of simple stimulant. Another explanation could be that because the NFL does not release the specific drug that was tested positive for, players often lie and say that it was just a stimulant like Adderall.
Major League Baseball publicly states what a player tested positive for, and positive tests tend to be steroids and HGH. The same is true for Olympic drug testing. Perhaps the only group of athletes who would benefit more from steroid use are weight lifters, but yet the only drug that NFL players seem to test positive for is Adderall. As part of the NFL’s new drug testing policy, the league apparently can correct public misstatements from a player regarding a positive drug test. Time will tell if we see a sharp decrease in the number of players claiming they tested positive for Adderall, although it is worth noting that while the league can correct misstatements, they have not said that they will always do so.