Mark McGwire and Steroids

Mark McGwire’s admission of using steroids and human growth hormone (HGH) is no surprise.  Baseball knew about it and looked the other way.  I look back to how Jose Canseco was universally ridiculed years ago for saying that much of baseball was using steroids.  It turns out he was right.  People don’t like it when you speak the truth.

What’s surprising is that there’s no outcry about steroids in football. Obviously many players are using steroids or HGH, which is not detected by tests.  It’s true that baseball’s records are considered sacred, and people would probably be more accepting of football players using steroids, but steroids and HGH still give players a huge unfair advantage.

The average weight of an offensive lineman in the NFL is about 310 pounds.  Thirty years ago it was about 260.  Not all of that can be accounted for with improved weight training and nutrition.  When you see wide receivers with huge arms that look like they’re flexed when they’re not, and they recover from broken legs in less than two months to play again, it’s pretty suspicious. Thirty years ago you didn’t see any wide receivers like that.

In 2006 former Redskins tackle Jon Jansen said a large number of NFL players were using performance enhancers.  “When there is something out there that people believe is going to help them, we’d be very naive and foolish to think that if you can’t test for it, guys are going to try it,” Jansen said. “Right now there is not a test for HGH, and when they develop that, I hope the NFL will institute that in our drug policy.”  Jansen backed off his statements when he was told to be quiet.

So the NFL now is just as bad as baseball was in the 1990s.  They turn the other way even though a very large number of ex-players die decades earlier than they should.  For years the NFL ignored the problems of concussions, while former players came down with early dementia.

Former Pittsburgh Steelers offensive lineman Steve Courson wrote in his book “False Glory” that coach Chuck Noll “conveniently and most definitely turned his head to it.”  The word is that the Steelers, who won four Super Bowls in the 1970s, were one of the first teams to use steroids.

Former NFL player and coach Jim Haslett said “It started, really, in Pittsburgh. They got an advantage on a lot of football teams. They were so much stronger (in the) ’70s, late ’70s, early ’80s,” Haslett said in 2005. “They’re the ones who kind of started it.”

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