Yesterday, Mark McGwire admitted to using steroids during his playing career, including the 1998 season in which he broke baseball’s single-season home run record. While it has many crying foul, Rice University sport management expert Clark Haptonstall said that in the long run, the admission will improve McGwire’s image.
“For our athletes, we’re a forgiving public as long as they ask for forgiveness and admit their mistakes,” Haptonstall said. “No one should be surprised that McGwire used performance enhancing drugs — for years we’ve had every reason to believe he did — so we haven’t been longing for the truth. We’ve been longing for him to take ownership and admit he screwed up.”
That’s exactly what McGwire did Tuesday, Haptonstall said, noting “he did it in typical Mark McGwire fashion. He had complete control of the situation.”
Of Major League Baseball’s all-time home-run hitters, McGwire becomes the sixth linked to performance-enhancing drugs. Rice University kinesiologist Leah Stroud said that the athletes’ numbers show the positive features of anabolic-steroid use — increased lean body mass and maximum strength.
“Anabolic steroid use can, with training, lead someone like Mark McGwire to a home run record, but there are serious consequences to pay beyond the societal implications of cheating,” Stroud said. “In men, the normal levels of testosterone that are circulating in the body are increased dramatically with steroid use, so the body uses a ‘negative feedback loop’ to decrease the normal release of testosterone in men. After using steroids, the body may not produce normal testosterone levels as it used to.”
Stroud said that steroid use can also increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and cause mood and behavior disorders, liver dysfunction, insulin resistance, glucose intolerance, acne and breast development in men.
CONTACT: David Ruth