As many of you know, I was a sportscaster for 20 years before coming to The Early Show and I'm still a really big fan. Last night, I watched the Home Run Derby, a tradition before Major League Baseball's All-Star Game, in which baseball's power hitters tee off, much to the thrill and delight of the stadium crowd.
Sadly, when Bonds breaks Henry Aaron's all-time home run record, all will be forgiven and excused by some fans -- even his alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs. Steroids are rampant in sports, and we have heard much about them lately, from the murder-suicide case of WWE wrestler Chris Benoit to Floyd Landis' battle to hang onto his Tour de France title.
Steroids are not only a form of cheating, but they can also be dangerous -- even deadly -- as evidenced by the early deaths of some athletes who have used them. And yet from organized sports (on both a professional and amateur level) and fans alike, there has been no collective outcry to get rid of the drugs.
Why not? Because there is huge money at stake, as well as gold medals and a winning-at-all-costs mentality when it comes to the home team. Perhaps as parents and fans, we need to stop before cheering for a player accused of using steroids or buying their jersey, and think about what that says not only about our own values, but also the message we are giving our kids. With steroid use on the rise among high school athletes, clearly the message that drugs have no place in sports is not getting across. The temptation to win, earn that scholarship, or make big bucks is quite simply too much.
Believe me, I find it difficult to tell my own children that some of their favorite athletes are winning by cheating, but it's a discussion that needs to be had. Our kids have to understand that winning and titles and trophies do not come from a syringe, but from hard work and heart.