Brent Musburger, a lead announcer for both ESPN and ABC, recently told a group of college journalism students at the University of Montana that steroids have a place in professional sports.  After telling the students that “they work,” he backtracked a bit by saying that we should look to what “the doctors actually think about anabolic steroids” and that we shouldn’t “have a preconceived notion that this is right or this is wrong.”  More choice quotes can be found here.

When asked by the Associated Press to expand on his comments, Musburger stood by his main point that “the issue of steroids belongs in the hands of doctors and not in the hands of a journalist.”

Besides discovering that Montana is not just a Canadian national park, I didn’t learn anything new from Musburger’s comments and I’m sure the journalism students didn’t either.  We all saw the benefits of steroids on athletic performance throughout the 1990s and early 2000s in baseball.  We know they work.

Still, coming from a nationally recognized sports figure, his words hold a lot more weight than yours or mine.  He certainly has a right to his opinion, and I’m sure many people completely agree with him, but hearing someone of his stature sing steroid’s praises in a world where most everyone frowns upon them is startling.

Further, while Musburger seems to believe that the negative effects of steroids are open to interpretation, the medical evidence is clear that they pose significant health risks.

“The most common health consequences from steroids include liver cancer, heart attacks and elevated cholesterol levels, according to the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Steroids have also been shown to cause increased irritability and aggression.

Among the many examples of the negative effects of steroids are the cases of dozens of East German women Olympians who took the drugs in the 1960s and ’70s and wound up with a variety of medical issues after their careers were over. Former NFL lineman Lyle Alzado, who died in 1992 at 43, blamed his fatal brain tumor on his persistent use of steroids. Taylor Hooton was a 17-year-old baseball player who committed suicide in 2003; doctors believe Hooton became depressed after he stopped using steroids.”