Athletes who have used performance enhancing drugs should be stripped of the medals and titles that they have won. There are many reasons for this. One of these reasons is that using steroids in sports can be compared to cheating in school. It’s not right and if you get caught, punishments have to be handed out. If someone cheats in school and gets caught, they will most likely end up in serious trouble. Some of the time, that person will get a zero on the test or assignment. The same thing applies to sports. If you use these substances, which can be seen as the same thing as cheating, you should be punished. Since most athletes are caught doping after they have been doing it for a while, they probably have already won their titles or medals. Take Lance Armstrong (see image) as an example. He won seven Tour de France titles during his career and was one of the best cyclists ever. But, in 2012, it was discovered that he was the ringleader of a drug program with his cycling team. The International Cycling Union officially took away the seven titles that he and his team won as a result of this and banned him for life from competing. This should be done to many other athletes who did the same thing he did.
Taking these performance enhancing drugs in sports is not only cheating, but it is not strong sportsmanship either. It doesn’t make the game or event fair to everyone who is involved. As a result, if the people who cheated and took steroids were to win, their victory shouldn’t count. If Lance Armstrong was taking these steroids as he began winning all those Tour de Frances, that is cheating. He wasn’t being fair to the other competitors and was using something to gain an unfair advantage. Imagine being the cyclist that came in second place. How must that feel, losing to a cyclist that wasn’t even playing by the rules? If I were that cyclist, I would be very angry because they could have won that race if it wasn’t for the cheater/the winner. Another prime example of performance enhancing drugs in sports is baseball. Now, this is different from cycling in the fact that it is not an individual sport. But, that is not to say that use of drugs is not involved. Many players, including Alex Rodriguez, Roger Clemens, and Barry Bonds, all used steroids during their careers. Now, they cannot take away their titles because it is a team sport. If every single person on the team was found guilty, that would be a different story. But the punishment for them has been that they are being kept out of the Hall of Fame. This serves the same purpose as stripping away titles and medals. These players gained an unfair advantage and significantly helped their teams win championships. Barry Bonds (see image) is the MLB’s all-time leader in home runs. But many claim to “take that medal away” by not recognizing him, but rather Hank Aaron, as the true home run king. Titles and medals should be taken away from all players in all team sports just like this as punishment for their actions and steroid use.
Michael Phelps once said that “I don’t know if I’ve ever competed in a clean sport.” This was amidst doping scandals against the Russian team that eventually cost them the chance at competing at the Winter Olympics in 2018 under the Russian flag. This says something about sports in general. If there are no clean sports, which most people agree is true, then why shouldn’t titles be taken away? I won’t get into the skepticism of his medals, but Phelps is practically saying that cheating is a part of every sport. This also applies to the past as well. More and more tests are being conducted on players to find more steroid users, but what about doing something about it? Instead of suspending them, why don’t you take away their MVP award or Super Bowl ring? If punishments are handed out for cheating and getting and unfair advantage in other areas, why not in sports? Not only is using drugs bad for the current sport, but what about the future? It sets a bad stage for future generations. If people want to stop athletes from engaging in these performance-enhancing substances, then we should send a message. If we strip athletes of the one thing they covet in sports, it will stop others from doing the same. Banning Lance Armstrong was a good start, but also wiping his name from the championship record books? That’s a powerful punishment. So, in conclusion, the use of performance enhancing drug both promotes bad sportsmanship and serves as a horrible for the game. All players who partake in it should be punished by stripping them of titles and medals that should be given to the true athletes, the ones who actually follow the rules.