Sports figures must be responsible role models

What we do comes back to us. There are consequences for every action a person takes. Professional sports figures are heroes and legends with a responsibility as role models, whether they like it or not. ESPN reports: Major League Baseball (MLB) wants to suspend about 20 players over doping. CNN reports the players deny allegations that they used performance-enhancing substances (PES) provided by a now-closed clinic in Florida. Legal action against the players may be dropped, advises ESPN.

The offending drug is synthetic testosterone which helps to build muscle and aid the athlete to rapidly recover from physical exertion. Such drugs are risky and have long term effects:

– Increased cancer risk

– Heart and liver disease

– Aggressive behavior

– Paranoia

– Bad judgments

Earlier this year, Lance Armstrong, champion cyclist, admitted using performance-enhancing drugs. He set records in his sport. His career was shattered because his bad choices and deceit cost him all of the achievements he attained. Was it worth the edge the PES gave him in competition?

It’s important for high profile individuals to understand the influence they have on their fans.

“Almost one-quarter of teens (23 percent) agree that ‘knowing that some successful athletes use performance-enhancing substances makes me more likely to consider using them,’” writes Steve Pasierb, president of The Partnership at (“”>

Are there better, healthier ways to gain the competitive edge? Cheating is cheating, Pasierb says. Using performance-enhancing substances is cheating. Even if you win and nobody ever knows you used those substances, you know you cheated to win and there is no honor in cheating to win.

But the sellers of the steroid drugs don’t care about anything except making money. See them for what they are: drug dealers. Drugs destroy dreams. Drugs affect your long term health. Life isn’t about one moment of reaching one goal.

“Professional athletes are under a huge amount of pressure to be bigger, stronger, and faster,” says Leigh Steinberg, legendary sports agent ( “they are role models and if they don’t want to be a role model, they can go play in the sandlot.”

Steinberg knows youth don’t like to listen to authority. Pro athletes are in a position to make a difference in youths’ lives. “Young people don’t understand that these drugs damage the heart and it’s possible to depress the respiratory system to the point where people die.”

Parents, coaches, forewarned is forearmed. Kids need to know the dangers of steroids. They need to understand how important it is to think before they act. What will their consequences be? Why do they need to make healthy, safe, smart choices?

Family Recovery Center promotes the well being of individuals, families and communities with education, prevention and treatment programs for substance abuse and related mental health issues. For more information about this topic or any of our programs, contact the agency at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468; or e-mail, FRC is funded, in part, by United Way of Northern Columbiana County.