March 26, 2007
I have been flooded with email questions about my take on the current steroid scandal in wrestling, so I will take a look at that this week. My biggest complaint about this whole story is that so many people are making it out to be a wrestling scandal, when it is quite obviously much bigger than that. Eleven wrestlers are connected to this current steroid scandal in which several doctors are being indicted, but the list of clients is far more reaching than just pro wrestling.
In addition to the wrestlers found on client lists there were people from Major League Baseball, the NFL, Boxing, Body Building, you name it. Steroids exist in virtually every sport not just wrestling! They also exist in modeling, acting, and just meatheads in their ever day lives that want to be big and live up to the popular body type image society is promoting.
People seemed shocked and appalled that Edge and Hurricane received a prescription for HGH, yet Iíve heard so little about the news report of Sylvester Stallone who was recently tagged in Australia for transporting banned substances when customs officials seized 48 vials of Jintropin (the most potent form of HGH on the market) in his possession entering the Country on a promotional tour. Or how about former Olympic diving medallist Richard A. Rydze (also linked to the current indictments), a top physician for the 2006 Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers, who allegedly purchased 150,000 dollars worth of testosterone and human growth hormone. Drug prescriptions from 2005 may very well have contributed to the success of the teamís 2006 Super Bowl Season.
Now Iím not condoning any Steroid or HGH use by the boys, Iím as anti drug as Iíve ever been, Iím just saying that this is a much bigger problem than just pro-wrestling. Indictments such as this will help the problem, but so much more needs to be done. Lets be honest, society as a whole openly endorses and promotes Steroid and HGH use. Virtually every fitness magazine on news stands today (in my opinion) features and profiles body builders and athletes who have bodies built on Steroids and HGH.
The Governor of California, and former head of the Presidentís Council on Physical Fitness, Arnold Schwarzenegger, admitted to using Steroids in his body building days and he likely did also for his movie career. Here is a man that people idolize who became rich and famous off a body built on Steroids. To make matters worse he is still a very outspoken supporter of professional bodybuilding, a sport with likely the highest percentage of Steroid or HGH use out there. I would be willing to bet at the professional level 100% of bodybuilders use or have used some form of Steroid or Growth Hormone to achieve the body they have, despite any tests they may have to pass during some competitions.
From an early age we bombard our kids with images and body types that are naturally unattainable. Comic Book Superheroes are all jacked and chiseled characters whose physiques if they were real would require drug use to obtain. From there it is fitness magazines promoting jacked up muscle bound unattainable bodies as the desired healthy image we are to strive for. I spoke to a High School teacher friend of mine once about the steroid problem at the High School level and I point out to him the inadvertent hypocrisy of his schoolís fitness room that featured several anti Steroid posters on the walls above a magazine rack featuring muscle magazines with guys using steroids on the cover. We are encouraging our youth to reach a goal only attainable by means we then turn around and condemn them for.
Is there a solution? It is doubtful there is a perfect one, but I think things can and should be a hell of a lot better than they are. Society as a whole needs to get itís head out of itís butt and see the big picture. Steroids are a body image issue, much like eating disorders in Women are body image based. As long as we continue to promote and glamorize unhealthy and unrealistic body images, the incentives to do drugs, or starve oneself are going to be there. Serious and drastic steps are going to have to be taken to penalize those caught using drugs, and those who promote and make money off of those using drugs. Advertisers need to be required to take extensive measures to ensure those endorsing their products arenít using steroids and other drugs. The bodybuilding and fitness industry should be the immediate target. Supplement companies almost exclusively use unnaturally jacked up people to endorse and promote their products, which in my opinion is borderline fraud, yet commonplace in the industry.
I know Iíve gotten a long way from talking about Steroids in Wrestling, and I am not trying to divert attention and leave the wrestling industry blameless. For a long time this industry has promoted that bigger is better and as a result those who take steroids often find their way further up the ladder than those who donít, but I think society as a whole has a bigger effect on wrestling that wrestling has on society as a whole. I think anyone who claims that Wrestling is leading the charge in Steroid promotion is giving our industry way too much credit.
This problem is WAY bigger than anyone seems to want to admit, and that needs to stop, in order for this problem to be fixed. Steroid and HGH use in North America is at an epidemic level and there needs to be a major crack down at all levels, for it to stop. Millions of dollars can be made off of bodies enhanced by Steroid and HGH, so until the penalties for being caught become greater than, or at least proportional to, the potential rewards this problem is going to get worse.
Thatís my take,