Permitting Anabolic Steroids in Competitive Sports

Wow! This is the most impressive panel of intellectuals arguing that performance enhancing drugs, such as anabolic steroids and growth hormone, should be accepted in professional sports. An Oxford-style debate presented by Intelligence Squared US and sponsored by the Rosenkranz Foundation debated the motion, “We should accept performance-enhancing drugs in competitive sports.”

Panelists for the debate were Radley Balko of Reason magazine, Norman Fost, director of the Bioethics Program at the University of Wisconsin, and Julian Savulescu, director of the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics and of the Program on Ethics and Biosciences in the James Martin 21st Century School, speaking for the motion. Sportcaster George Michael, former Major League Baseball all-star and founder of the iWon’t Cheat Foundation Dale Murphy and Richard Pound, former chairman of the World Anti-Doping Agency, spoke against the motion. Sports and broadcast host Bob Costas served as moderator.

I have to wonder who selected the panelists because they certainly stacked the deck in favor of panelists arguing for the motion of accepting performance-enhancing drugs in sports. It was an incredibly uneven playing field for this debate with three academics and intellectuals debating a jock, a sportswriter, and the widely lampooned Dick Pound. Why in the world did they not select equally matched, academically-qualified panelists to argue against the motion? Charles Yesalis, PhD and John Hoberman, PhD are steroid and doping experts who are highly respected by mostly everyone on both sides of the issue. The panelist selection was a disappointment for the anti-doping position.

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