Bush Speaks Out, Awaits Response

President Bush took a new approach at winning votes during his State of the Union address Tuesday by advocating legislation for the banning of chemical performance enhancements for professional athletes. "Athletics play such an important role in our society, but unfortunately, some in professional sports are not setting much of an example," the President said.

Bush added, "The use of performance-enhancing drugs like steroids in baseball, football, and other sports is dangerous, and it sends the wrong message: that there are shortcuts to accomplishment, and that performance is more important than character."

This statement received much applause both from Democrats and Republicans in attendance. While Bush has the right idea by reeling in voters by pointing the finger at professional athletes while avoiding the more important subjects, I won't get into that specifically.

In regards to his comment on performance-enhancing drugs, though, I fully agree. However, what Bush failed to mention is that there have already been three attempts to pass legislation on the exact same topic.

More than a year ago, representatives John Sweeney, Tom Osborne and Orrin Hatch, all Republicans, proposed a bill that would disallow the selling of androstenedione and other steroid originators over the counter.

In addition, senators Dick Durbin and Joseph Biden, both Democrats, also proposed bills to ban such performance-enhancing drugs. So, why is Bush now pushing this issue? And as his own, nonetheless?

Jose Canseco is one of more recent athletes admitting the use of performance-enhancing drugs. (Photo/Getty)
These performance-enhancing drugs create such a debate among professional athletes, league representatives and team owners that the issue of privacy resurfaces each time the subject is rekindled. While I believe in a person's right to privacy, when incidents continue to re-surface about the use of these drugs, I can't help but agree with the idea of random drug testing.

President Bush's push to protect the children is definitely another point I concur with.

As a kid, I loved professional sports. I didn't really know anything about steroids or athletes cheating their way to the top. And I loved it. It was great to look at a player and want to be able to play the game just like him. Kids love to dream that they can one day aspire to be Bo Jackson or Ryne Sandberg.

As I later grew up and became aware of the way some athletes achieved success, I was greatly disturbed. I felt as though I'd been lied to. Maybe the kids don't know it now, but once they find out about these drugs, they will either think it's ok or, like I did, feel cheated.

Without the proper parenting, kids can take the use of drugs by athletes as the way to achieve success and maximum performance. That's not how things should go.

Not only do the kids need to know that performance-enhancing drugs aren't the answer, but professional athletes should be content with their abilities.

Professional athletes are not found everywhere. They've obviously got something that millions of other athletes don't, so why do some of them feel the need to take the drugs to take their game to the next level? After all, they're talented on their own.

While I'm not sure Bush looked that deeply into the matter, he at least took the first step in an uphill battle by saying, "I call on the team owners, union representatives, coaches and players to take the lead, to send the right signal, to get tough, and to get rid of steroids now."

Some kind of steps need to be taken to stop this madness alright.

It's so ridiculous that athletes feel they need to resort to drugs to get to the top. This only re-inforces the idea about how professional athletics have changed so much; that the games have lost a lot of their meaning and excitement.

Those special athletes who have the talent and don't use these drugs are being lost amongst the crowd, and overlooked because of the ones who aren't completely confident in their abilities. Yes, it's a shame when a professional athlete feels the need to cheat their way to the top. They're already in a league of their own, so why try and cheat their way further?

The bill that President Bush currently backs needs to be taken seriously, unlike the three afformentioned bills that currently sit in the Senate offices.

While it seems cheap that Bush is gung-ho about the bill now during an election year since it should have been addressed much sooner, at least it is getting recognition in some important speeches now.

All that I can hope for now is that the legislation be taken seriously, and athletes realize the impact that they have just being the outstanding athletes they are... without performance-enhancing drugs.


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