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Great Moments in Steroids Hysteria

May 3, 2013, 9:28 AM EDT


You gotta read Rob Neyer’s latest post. Short version: the Hall of Fame and the Taylor Hooton Foundation funded a survey about public perception of steroids as a national problem. Fine. Not sure why the Hall of Fame cares about such things, but it’s not my money funding it.

The kicker, though: the report on the survey is shocked that the public does not consider steroids to be anywhere near as big a threat to our nation’s youth as things like drinking, eating disorders, drugs, obesity and other things that, you know, ARE REALLY BIG PROBLEMS FOR OUR NATION’S YOUTH.

You can say it’s just a survey, but organizations do surveys and release reports like these for a reason. They want to publicize their cause and beat the drums for awareness and donations and things. And the people beating the drums in this case seem to truly believe that it’s wrong that people don’t think steroids are as big a problem for kids as other things.  Which is insane.

Just remember that the next time you hear anything about steroids from either the Hall of Fame, the Hooton Foundation or writers citing them as sources when making anti-PED arguments.  Their perspective is skewed. Irresponsibly so, I’d argue.

  1. chacochicken - May 3, 2013 at 9:36 AM

    This is a real danger. One day those roided up kids are going to grow up into the Humungus, Lord Humungus, Warrior of the Wastelands, Ayatollah of Rock’nrollah. We should just walk away.

    • dluxxx - May 3, 2013 at 9:53 AM

      I’ll just go on record as saying that I’m more worried about the steroids being pumped into your breathern than the ones being pumped into humans. At least the humans have a choice.

      Think of the Chickens!!!!

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - May 3, 2013 at 10:07 AM

        Hey, if those chickens made the terrible decision to use steroids, they deserve everything they have coming to them. Like spicy, crispy delicious Popeye’s batter, with red beans and rice.

      • dluxxx - May 3, 2013 at 10:09 AM

        Mmmmm. Popeye’s chicken….

      • Walk - May 3, 2013 at 11:54 AM

        Personally I am all for roided chickens if it gets us more nuggets per bird.

    • cur68 - May 3, 2013 at 10:20 AM

      He seems like a reasonable man…

    • chacochicken - May 3, 2013 at 12:45 PM

      I feel sorry for those poor, poor fools who would thumbs down the Road Warrior.

      • dluxxx - May 3, 2013 at 12:58 PM

        I think they’re just thumbs downing the idea of a bleak, dystopian future where roided out freaks while wearing old sports equipment for armor will run rampant over our defenses and kill us all simply for a little bit of petrol …

      • bigharold - May 3, 2013 at 1:09 PM

        “I feel sorry for those poor, poor fools …”

        Sure is tough going through life without a sense of humor.

    • bigharold - May 3, 2013 at 1:07 PM

      ” Lord Humungus, Warrior of the Wastelands, Ayatollah of Rock’nrollah.”

      Yeah, .. and we know how things turned out for him!

      • dluxxx - May 3, 2013 at 1:28 PM

        Yups. He had a few more bit parts and now is a manager for a software company.

  2. sdelmonte - May 3, 2013 at 9:47 AM

    The Hooton Foundation has an agenda. Understandably so, since Hooton’s family blames steroids for his death. But it’s still an agenda and it’s likely that any survey they fund will be as skewed as scientific “research” conducted using money from tobacco companies. Just because your crusade might be just doesn’t mean you get to commission surveys and twist the numbers.

    • paperlions - May 3, 2013 at 9:59 AM

      I admit that I am not terribly familiar with the circumstances surrounding their son’s suicide….but I will say that 1000s of teenagers that never take steroids commit suicide. Assuming that steroids were a root cause of their son’s suicide is a fairly big leap. In general, drug use by teenagers that end up committing suicide seems far more likely to be a symptom of their overall troubles than a cause of it.

      I understand that they are heartbroken and angry, but that doesn’t mean there if validity to their claims or agenda.

      • sdelmonte - May 3, 2013 at 10:15 AM

        I actually tried to search for information about this tragic story, but I can’t find anything that doesn’t reflect a bias. And rather interestingly, the Wikipedia page was removed.

  3. darthicarus - May 3, 2013 at 9:48 AM

    On a serious note, I was in high school in the late 90’s…I knew of numerous kids in school that took steroids so they could perform better in whatever their sport of choice was (usually football & basketball). Most of the time the change in appearance was just pawned off as “kids growing into men”…the coaches never said anything because it helped the team out & other kids wouldn’t rat on the guys doing it because that’s just not something kids do. I wouldn’t say steroids are as bad as other things to worry about with kids but to say there isn’t an issue with it in high schools today would just be silly. I imagine there’s probably a larger contingency of steroid users in high schools now and some of those rapidly bulking up kids are again chalked up to hormones in food & kids are just getting bigger these days, but from my experience that is not always 100% the case. Sure some kids are naturally bigger but not all, there is some alternate assistance in play.

    • paperlions - May 3, 2013 at 10:01 AM

      Don’t many more schools have mandatory drug tests if kids want to participate in sports than had them in the 90s? It isn’t like most teenagers are doing anything other than testosterone (not saying that is a good thing, it isn’t, but it isn’t like they have the funds/smarts to get around most standard drug tests).

    • Bill Parker - May 3, 2013 at 10:02 AM

      I don’t think anyone’s saying there isn’t an issue with it. Just that both in terms of the size of the problem and its effects, it’s likely a much, much MUCH smaller issue than things like eating disorders. Which actually kill people. Lots of people.

      • darthicarus - May 3, 2013 at 10:30 AM

        Teenage boys gaining natural hormones + steroids = bad combo. Add in they’re likely drinking & doing random other drugs I’m surprised that aren’t more ‘roid rage incidents in schools (I’ll just assume the coaches get those little “misunderstands” swept under the rug)

  4. rbj1 - May 3, 2013 at 10:02 AM

    having gone to college in the 1980s, I’d say that back then cocaine and AIDS were bigger dangers than steroids. And I’d think they still are.

    Unless you live in Chicago, where it appears that gang violence is the biggest danger.

    • 18thstreet - May 3, 2013 at 10:54 AM

      It depends on the kid. In the aggregate, obesity is — by far — a bigger problem than alcohol and illegal drugs or premarital sex or eating disorders. Heck, tooth decay is the number one reason why kids miss class. And 400,000 Americans of all ages die every year due to tobacco products.

      Neyer is right: it’s laughable to suggest that steroid use is the number one problem facing any subset of adolescents. *Even among steroid users,* I’ll bet that alcohol is a bigger threat to their health and safety than the steroids are. (In other words: steroids are awful for a growing boy’s body. But that boy is probably more likely to get hurt or injured in a car accident than through his steroid usage.)

  5. seitz26 - May 3, 2013 at 10:14 AM

    What’s striking to me is that the Hall of Fame, per their press release, actually finds it striking that the public doesn’t think steroids are as important as the other things listed. My high school had about 2,000 students. Maybe 100 were high end athletes, and that’s stretching it a bit. I have no doubt that those 100 are either tempted by or perhaps engaging in steroid use. If I’m a parent of one of those kids, I’m worried about steroid use.

    But if I’m a parent of ANY of the other 1,900 students, I’m not particularly concerned about steroids. And the parents of ALL 2,000 are concerned about drugs, alcohol, and STDs, and maybe a smaller but still large number worry about obesity, eating disorders, bullying, etc. Basically the Hooton’s and Hall are upset that their study shows that the public are concerned about exactly what the public should be concerned about.

  6. louhudson23 - May 3, 2013 at 10:17 AM

    My problem with steroids is the distortion of the game of baseball which came about with their widespread(and accepted…indeed,applauded) usage. The game was changed and not for the better,beginning in the late eighties and continuing to till just a few seasons ago, by steroids,small parks and tight baseballs,and screwed up strike zones………today’s game,happily,once again includes pitching,defense and base running,with less swollen heads…and still includes tight baseballs and small stadiums…strike zones have been semi normalized,although the high strike is still a phantom….so,testing has worked,and no more Bonds,Sosa McGuire style freak shows….and Home Run derby is now once a year contrived event ,not a nightly occurrence….

  7. gerryb323 - May 3, 2013 at 10:20 AM

    Awesome column by Neyer and good follow up and comments here. From my experience in high school in the late 90s I only recall a good bit of creatine going around, but then I went to a private school with a bunch of rich kids who didn’t have the means to get steroids…

  8. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - May 3, 2013 at 10:23 AM

    If it is true that more Americans care about Football than baseball, just look at the attitudes toward steroids in football to get a sense of public opinion. I think you are required to miss at LEAST 2 snaps if you are caught using anything off of the approved steroid list.

    • dluxxx - May 3, 2013 at 11:20 AM

      That’s a little disengeniuos. Kevin williams was suspended for 4 games for taking a suplement that had an unlisted ingredient that wasn’t even a steroid. The ingredient was often used to mask steroid use, but there was no suspicion of steroid use. It was just on the banned list. 4 games is equal to a 40 game suspension in baseball. That’s not a slap on the wrist.

      • dluxxx - May 3, 2013 at 11:22 AM


      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - May 3, 2013 at 11:52 AM

        Of course I was exaggerating on the penalties, but the point was public perception. I have not head any real outrage about “players cheating the game” or any other moral outrage associated with players in the NFL using PEDs. I believe that PED use was, and more than likely still is, much more prevalent in football than in baseball, and the effects on former players seem to be far more injurious. Yet there is no Senate inquiry. No Mitchell report for football. It seems that the public just DGAF about PED in the NFL.

  9. runtheball - May 3, 2013 at 10:57 AM

    Anything from tqhe Hooten Foundation is ridiculous. It is a shame the kid took his own life, but that had to do with the antidepressants that he was taking not steroids. From the pictures from the stories about the kid I don’t even think he took steroids. A crusade against psychotropic drugs wouldn’t and young athletes just doesn’t resonate like evil steroids do. If the kid was abusing steroids to the point it affected him mentally he would have looked like a monster not a skinny kid.

  10. thebadguyswon - May 3, 2013 at 11:20 AM

    The best part of the steroid issue in baseball is that Selig turned a blind eye in the late 90s and LET IT HAPPEN!! Then he turns around and leads the fight against it. Unreal.

    • stlouis1baseball - May 3, 2013 at 12:28 PM

      You nailed it! I have harped on that for years. Dude turned a blind eye (all in the interest of the turning turnstiles). One could make an argument the Steroid era saved baseball after the W.S. was cancelled due to the strike.

      • gloccamorra - May 3, 2013 at 8:52 PM

        He would have turned a blind eye in the Aughts, too but made the mistake of letting Senator George Mitchell conduct an investigation. Mitchell in turn let federal investigators run wild, creating a witch hunt, and Selig and Donald Fehr combined to create a drug testing program to keep the witch hunt from destroying the game.

      • thebadguyswon - May 4, 2013 at 11:48 AM

        I’m not going to lie, I loved it. I loved the HR race of 98. I used to watch the Mets and Cards and hope the Mets won and that Big Mac crushed one.

  11. stlouis1baseball - May 3, 2013 at 11:30 AM

    I graduated High School in 90 and no one I played with (Football, Baseball and Wrestling) took steroids.
    But there were a handful of guys older than me who were big weightlifters and they all took them.
    Lots of back acne, small waists, huge upper bodies and tree limb size legs (for the most part).
    Oh…and tans. Big time tanning bed tans. Helped with their acne.

  12. jwbiii - May 3, 2013 at 12:57 PM

    From TFA

    the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports a prevalence rate of steroid use among high school students that ranges from 2.2-6.1% during [1991-2011] (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2012)

    From states which actually test high school athletes

    Since spring 2008 [through January 2011], steroid testing of Texas high school athletes each semesterhas resulted in 162 tests not passing out of 51,635, a percentage of .003. In the other three states that do or have done testing, a total of 4,111 tests have resulted in four positives, a percentage of .00097

    At the time, Texas tested all football players and wrestlers and randomly tested other athletes. I don’t know what the procedures in Florida, New Jersey, and Illinois were.

    • jwbiii - May 3, 2013 at 3:02 PM

      That math in the Dallas News doesn’t look right. Those are raw numbers, not percentages. That should be 0.3% for Texas, .097% for Florida, New Jersey, and Illinois. Still an order of magnitude lower than the CDC report.

  13. scoocha - May 3, 2013 at 1:01 PM

    With how much Craig loves steroids and condones their use, I always picture him sitting at his computer looking as jacked as 80s wrestlers in the steroid heyday. He must be benching 500-600 lbs by now.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - May 3, 2013 at 1:41 PM

      Find one comment by Craig where he condones the use, because I bet you can’t.

  14. If the Shoe Fits - May 3, 2013 at 1:48 PM

    “Which is interesting, I guess, if you’re interested in what generally ignorant Americans think is happening in our high schools.”

    Perfectly stated synopsis.

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