The ethics around drug use in sport are wide, but he HSC PDHPE syllabus want you to consider whether the use of drugs is for personal success or big business. Over the last 30 years sport has changed dramatically going from games we played, to big business. Sport is now a multi-million dollar industry in Australia let alone around the world. The pressure on athletes to succeed is immense, and the personal drive to achieve is only increased with the rewards and fame that come with it.
The HSC PDHPE syllabus teacher note says:
Students need only a general understanding of the performance-related effects of, and the harm associated with, using drugs. Ethical considerations – such as fair play versus cheating, whether the drug use is for personal success or because sport is ‘big business’ – need to be explored.
This article explores the last aspect of this teacher note, as the rest has already been addressed (performance effects and harms associated with drug use & fair play vs cheating).
One of the key reasons some athletes chose to use drugs is for personal success. Drugs can be used in order to improve performance or recover from injury, both of which help an athlete to succeed in their chosen sport. Personal success looks different for every athlete. It could be the lure of money and fame that comes with being the best in your sport, or it could be the personal drive to simply be the best.
Athletes who are driven by success may be attacked to drug use because it can be hard to detect, and gives them the advantage over the competition. Drug use increases the likelihood of the athlete reaching the top and being successful and this can be the reason why an athlete chooses to use drugs.
The business of sport has grown over the last few decades. One of the aspects that business can bring with it is a disregard for people and an over-emphasis on the money. Business is about making money and turns the athlete into a commodity rather than a person (though this is a generalisation). This can be seen in the constant selling and transferring or even lending of players between clubs. Athlete’s who under perform are sold or fired, while those who perform become worth more money and are used to bring in more crowds and more sponsorship. Just as a taste, the top earning club for 2015, Real Madrid made US$746 Million.
The big business nature of many sports today make the use of drugs more likely. Some clubs may start to place pressure on their athletes, particularly the “star” athletes, to recover faster from injury and to continue to play at the highest level. This added pressure can include the recommendation of drug use for both recovery and improvements in performance. Even without the club or coach recommending drug use, the pressure not he athlete can lead them to become more likely to use drugs.
Regardless of whether it is for personal success or big business, the use of drugs in sport results in unfair play and is considered one of the worst forms of cheating in all sports.