Butler County Times Gazette
  • A League of Her Own: Playing fair

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  • Everyone, it seems, has something to say about the rampant use of illegal performance enhancing drugs in Major League Baseball. Most agree there is no place for them in the sport.
    Despite all the outrage displayed over cheating in our national pastime, there is hardly a discouraging word said about the use of PEDs in the National Football League.
    Why is there a stigma attached to the use of these drugs in baseball, but not football? In fact, people accept that drugs are part of the NFL culture.
    Why are baseball players held to a higher standard?
    Football fans want to see muscle-bound gladiators handing out hits that knock players senseless. Unfortunately, most humans can’t withstand that sort of abuse. Former NFL quarterback Joe Namath has been quoted saying the human body isn’t built to play football. Because the sport is more barbaric, and PED’s help the players get through the grueling physical components of the game, football gets the green light for its players to take illegal substances.
    I equate the disparity to the female versus male athlete debate.
    Women, we represent baseball. The boys, they are football.
    As girls, we are taught to play hard, but not too hard. Don’t be too aggressive. If you are shown sweating, or maniacally going after a ball on the court, or knocking someone down on the soccer field, we are labeled “dirty.”
    However, when the boys show their savage side, the behavior is rewarded.
    Don’t believe me? Look at lacrosse. The rules are different for men vs. women.
    Men are allowed to hit each other in the high-speed sport. Women are not. Why?
    Society is sending the message that women have to look pretty while playing. Some female athletes even wear makeup when they perform. Makeup!
    Tennis pro Anna Kournikova wasn’t the best player on the circuit, but she certainly received a lot of notoriety for her good looks. Yet Serena Williams, who often gets emotional, yells at the officials and grunts loudly during play, is chastised for her aggressive nature.
    Yet the boys get to act and behave like animals. The meaner, louder and more intense they are, the greater their legacy and fan base.
    No one said John McEnroe was a bad sport when he tossed his racquet or screamed at the officials. His behavior was accepted as part of his “competitive nature.”
    It’s the double standard that irritates me.
    If we’re going to go after baseball for using illegal enhancing drugs, shouldn’t football suffer the same fate?
    Otherwise what we’re actually saying is that we love one child more than another, and no parent would ever admit to that.
    Page 2 of 2 - Heather Gillis Harris is reporter for Wicked Local. A three-sport high school athlete and two-sport college athlete, sports have long been a passion of hers. Reach her at hharris@wickedlocal.com.

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