Steroids Remain Unforgiveable While Sportswriters Forgive Amphetamines

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Sports writers tend to have an irrational hatred of anabolic steroid use in sports such as baseball. The use of steroids remains an unforgiveable sin that can not be overlooked. The Baseball Writers Association of America (BWAAA) has long struggled with the ongoing debate over whether steroids users (or merely accused steroid users) should be voted to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Barry Bonds has come to represent pure evil in Major League Baseball (MLB) because of his alleged steroid use on the way to breaking baseball’s home run record. Bonds, who was never actually convicted of lying about his steroid use, never tested positive for steroids and never admitted knowingly using steroids, has in effect been disqualified from the Hall of Fame by BBWAA voters. At the very least, most sportswriters feel that any steroid user who makes it to the Hall of Fame should have a huge asterisk beside his name.

To induct a steroid user into the Hall of Fame would tarnish the integrity of the sport and would be unfair to other inductees who didn’t use steroids to aid their game. Steroid use has tainted all of their records and accomplishments according to baseball’s moral guardians. Of course, baseball writers conveniently overlook the widespread use of amphetamines in baseball.

Hank Aaron, considered by many to be the greatest baseball player in the history Major League Baseball (MLB), has become the anti-Barry Bonds and a symbol of what was possible in the sport before steroids. Never mind the fact that Aaron admitted using performance-enhancing drugs (i.e. amphetamines) to help him play better.

“Actually, the 1968 season wasn’t the best time to present my case. It was the first time since my rookie year that I didn’t drive in or score 100 runs. I was so frustrated that at one point I tried using a pep pill a greenie that one of my teammates gave me,” wrote Aaron in his 1992 autobiography, “I Had a Hammer”. “When that thing took hold, I thought I was having a heart attack. It was a stupid thing to do.”

“Greenies” refers to the amphetamines. The history of amphetamines in baseball is much longer and more extensive than the use of steroids. It has been recognized as a performance-enhancing drug by anti-doping organizations. While anabolic steroids have been demonized, amphetamines and amphetamine users have been given a free pass.

Ken Davidoff of Newsday and Craig Calcaterra of NBC Sports question the moral compass of baseball writers who treat anabolic steroids differently than amphetamines. Where is the outcry over Hank Aaron’s use of performance-enhancing drugs? Why doesn’t anyone demand that Aaron be kicked out of the Hall of Fame? Where is the debate about adding an asterisk to Aaron’s name?

The anti-steroid crusaders in the Baseball Writers Association of America are silent. They are blinded by their irrational hatred of steroids.

Even Hank Aaron, whose home run record was eclipsed by Barry Bonds in 2007,  was “saddened” by baseball’s steroid era and thinks there should most definitely be an asterisk next to the names of steroid users.

“But if a player is elected who’s known to have used steroids, then I think there ought to be an asterisk or something mentioned on the plaque that he used steroids,” said Aaron. “To be safe, that’s the only way I see you can do it. I played the game long enough to know it is impossible for players, I don’t care who it is, to hit 70-plus home runs. It just does not happen.”

But apparently Aaron doesn’t think his name deserves an asterisk too.

"Greenies" aka amphetamines


Davidoff, K. (December 28, 2011). Why even an illegal PED confession shouldn’t be relevant to the Hall of Fame. Retrieved from

Calcaterra, C. (December 28, 2011). “Why doesn’t anyone stump for Aaron to be booted out of Cooperstown?”. Retrieved from

Madden, B. (July 26, 2009). Hank Aaron says steroid cheats in Hall of Fame should get an asterisk. Retrieved from