Tag Archives: PEDs

Strange How the NFL Has a Problem with Adderall and Fertility Drugs But Not Steroids

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.

Roger Goodell’s Troubles Are Only Just Beginning

Yesterday we received news that the DEA raided several NFL locker rooms as part of an investigation into potentially improper or illegal use of prescription drugs by NFL teams. This is very bad news for Commissioner Roger Goodell.  One of the most mystifying things in all of sports in recent years has been how Major League Baseball has received mountains of bad press and was even  subject to United States Senate hearings about the use of performance enhancing drugs by their players, yet the NFL, whose players look like Soviet era science projects, has largely escaped any negative publicity whatsoever. That is all about to change.

The contract in the leagues is downright mystifying. Bud Selig is widely condemned for turning a blind eye to PEDs after the 1994 strike as the surge in home runs and the pursuit by various players of the single season home run record sent ratings soaring. While that may well have been true, Selig and MLB would eventually make a serious effort to get drugs out of baseball. They instituted aggressive testing and punishment for the use of both steroids and HGH, and even launched their own investigations into the suppliers of drugs, which resulted in major suspensions to some of its biggest stars, such as Ryan Braun and Alex Rodriguez.

By contrast, the NFL is only now getting around to implementing an HGH testing program, and when players do test positive for steroids or other PEDs, they only get a 4 game suspension and are welcomed back with open arms as if nothing had ever happened. To put things in perspective, Alex Rodriguez was suspended for an entire year without ever failing a single drug test. He was suspended when MLB investigators, acting proactively, uncovered that he was a client of a PED supplier.

If you are wondering if baseball’s anti-drug efforts are working, consider that Giancarlo Stanton, who was just rewarded with a 13 year, $325 million dollar contract, led the National League in home runs this year with 37. In 1998 and 1999, Sammy Sosa hit 66 and 63 home runs respectively, but didn’t lead the league in home runs either year. As for the NFL, Jerry Rice, the greatest wide receiver of all time, ran a 4.7 40 yard dash as his combine in the mid-1980s. In the 2014 combine, 4 defensive ends ran a faster 40 time.

Roger Goodell has been hammered for turning a blind eye to domestic violence in the NFL. Just as it was looking like he had weathered that storm and was going to save his job, the federal investigators suddenly raided NFL locker rooms. If he thought he had it rough when media types like Bill Simmons were calling him names, just wait until he gets dragged before a Senate Committee in 2015.

How Bud Selig Ruined His Legacy by Getting Rid of PEDs

The reaction to Bud Selig’s retirement as commissioner of Major League Baseball this week was met with great celebration, not of his tenure, but of his departure. The sports media roundly derided Selig for presiding over a decline in baseball’s relative popularity, particularly in relation to the NFL. Many went so far as to mock him as an old man completely out of touch with the modern world, as evidenced by his own declaration that he has never sent an e-mail in his life and “never will”. Much of this criticism is justified, as the NFL has become far more popular than MLB during Selig’s tenure. What is not fair, though, is criticising him for the prevalence of performance enhancing drugs that lead the shattering of home run records in the late 90s and early 2000s.

It is worth remembering that baseball was grabbing a greater share of the sports headlines than the NFL when Mark McGuire and Sammy Sosa were battling to be the one to break Roger Maris’ single season home run record in 1998. Every morning, the first thing any sports fan wanted to know was if McGuire or Sosa had hit a home run. The battle was made even more perfect when McGuire broke the record while playing against Sosa’s Cubs and the two embraced in a heartwarming display of sportsmanship. If Bud Selig had turned a blind eye to the drug problem, baseball would be far more popular today and we may not have found out that the race to break Maris’ record was fueled by performance enhancing drugs.

But the fact is, for better or worse, Bud Selig did make a concerted effort to eliminate PEDs from major league baseball, even though it resulted in a sharp decline in home runs. Baseball has the more rigorous testing system and harshest penalties for PEDs. Some of the biggest stars in the game, including Alex Rodrigues, Manny Ramirez, and Ryan Braun, have all received lengthy suspensions. Baseball has not merely reacted to positive drug tests, they have actively investigated the suppliers of performance enhancing drugs, as with the case with the recent Biogenesis scandal.

What is odd is that rather than being congratulated for aggressively moving to rid baseball of drugs, Bud Selig is being continuously blamed for baseball players taking drugs. The NFL, by contrast, which doesn’t even test for human growth hormone and is filled with players who are freakishly big and fast, does not seem to take any heat at all, even though players routinely test positive for the PEDs that the league does test for. In baseball, thanks to the leagues aggressive stance against PEDs, a positive test means that the player will likely never get into the Hall of Fame, no matter how impressive their career numbers. In the NFL, you can test positive and get a job working for the NFL network.

I am not going to say that Bud Selig was a great commissioner, but he did the right thing in attempting to rid his sport of performance enhancing drugs. I find it sad that doing the right thing has somehow done so much harm to his legacy.