Do we put too much pressure on athletes?

Is the steroid problem the fans’ fault?
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TRANSCRIPT

Question: Do we put too much pressure on athletes?

Gary Wadler: Well, you know, yeah. And there’s no question it’s another form of drug abuse. And what drives the drug trade is money. Now, what’s unique about this form of drug abuse is a form of other drug abuse. In the other form of drug abuse, tremendous amount of money, people grow crop, market it, sell it, whatever. But the end user you can find nonfunctional,without a job, disheveled, whatever it might be. In the sports aspect of drug abuse, we still have the guy making money, importing it, developing it, packaging it and all that stuff, but the user not only is not not functional, he’s making more money than ever before. He has now become a national hero. So it’s an interesting dynamic. So you really have in the doping end that people who are providing the product are making money and the people who are using the product are making money. That’s a very hard act to break up.

Question: Do you still watch baseball?

Gary Wadler: Ask my wife.  I go home.  If I had a rough day, I put on the baseball game.  I love to watch the game of baseball.  I love it.  I grew up in Brooklyn.  I grew up with the Brooklyn Dodgers.  I met Jackie Robinson twice.  And people have used that argument, you know?  Free will.  Let them do what they want to do.  You have to recognize, and although it’s a lot better now than it was four or five years ago, we have had as many as four percent of high school seniors have used anabolic steroids.  We had as many as two and a half percent of eighth graders have used anabolic steroids at least once.  Those are staggering figures.  And so ultimately, we got to look at the implications for our society.  Are we condoning the abuse of dangerous drugs to achieve some goal?  Is that an acceptable form of behavior in our society?  I submit most people would say no, it’s unacceptable, but they still like to watch their professional sports.

Recorded on: 04/25/2008