So, now what? What do we do now that some of sports' biggest records have been tainted by the steroids controversy?
This is a question that has been widely circulated the past few weeks among both the media and casual sports fans alike. Sparked by the congressional hearing on steroid use in Major League Baseball two weeks ago, this whole discussion just hit the windshield of the sports world like a big June bug.
I've heard many suggestions on how to handle this unusual circumstance, but as it is one of my favorite past times I have developed an opinion on this issue that not many people have. I say we do nothing. Yeah, that's right, just get over it. Now, don't start misconstruing what I'm saying just yet, I'm not proposing getting rid of drug testing and I'm certainly not suggesting that we ease the sanctions for steroid use in professional sports.
All I am trying to say here is that it annoys me when people start talking about removing records from the record books because we all should have seen this coming. If steroid use is grounds for erasing records, then shouldn't the use of tighter wound baseballs, smaller parks, artificial turf, creatine and protein shakes mean the same thing? The original record holders in nearly all professional sports never had any of these advantages but that is never discussed.
Should Emmitt Smith's rushing record be ignored because he trained, ate and took supplements that Walter Payton never even heard of? No, that would be ridiculous and most of us can acknowledge that. Steroids are part of the evolution of sport, just like titanium golf-clubs, fiberglass tennis rackets, synthetic swimsuits, football facemasks and the hundreds of thousands of nutritional innovations our society had been inundated with in the past few years.
Has anyone ever counted how many records are broken during the course of one Olympic Games? Dozens, and it occurs on a regular basis even though the Olympic Committee has one of the strongest drug testing policies in all of sports. So steroids are obviously not the only thing giving modern athletes an advantage over their predecessors.
Some argue that steroids are different because they are illegal and I agree. Steroids have terrible side effects and impressionable little kids all across the country will potentially be harmed when they try to emulate their heroes and take the "miracle solution." I am convinced though, that we will some day look back on this dilemma and say, "Ha, remember when steroids were illegal? What a crazy idea!"
Steroids are bad and no one should use them, but as I mentioned before, we should all have seen this coming, so let's just leave the record books out of this for now.
Ryan Chapman is a junior marketing major. His column runs every Wednesday in the Collegian.