Why is it that as a society we decide to ban drugs in the majority of sports?
In a paper entitled "Performance enhancement and drug control in sport: ethical considerations" published in 2007 Dennis Hemphill suggests there are a number of conventional arguments that are used to support drug bans in sport:
1) Sport should be the testing of natural abilities
2) If drugs are banned it is unfair for athletes to use them, when others are drug free to maintain a "level playing field"
3) Drugs poses significant short or long term health hazards
4) An athlete using drugs can be thought to "coerce" others to have to take drugs out of fear of being less competitive - this argument is often used that if all elite athletes used drugs it would force young impressionable adults to use drugs.
Hemphill also plays the devils advocate and describes philosophical flaws in each of the above arguments. For example:
1) There are many things that athletes do for sport that is unnatural (e.g. training at very high altitude, using equipment/technology that aids in sporting success etc)
2) A "level playing field" doesn't exist in sports in many different areas outside of drugs - there is uneven access to funding in different countries, access to training facilities, world-class coaching etc
3) Elite athletes push their bodies to the limit and their training regimens are probably not "healthy"
4) Young athletes may feel "coerced" to conduct unhealthy training practices, or nutritional practices that elite athletes use, yet there is no policing of this kind of information sharing.
Part 1 will further discuss the above points and concludes that even given the above philosophical flaws in some of these mainstream arguments there is still a "pervasive disapproval" of drugs in sport - simply even if you can argue against some of these mainstream arguments society as a whole still seems something different about drugs in sport and as a majority doesn't allow them.
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