Scandals, steroids and the world of pro sports

By Brian Vigna |

Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots are the latest in a slew of professional teams to undergo a serious scandal.

The Patriots were caught and fined heavily for having a team employee filming behind the opposing team’s bench. The Patriots embarrassed the Jets 38—14 on Sept. 9 and have been criticized by both the sports media and fans of professional sports since.

The Patriots so-called “spygate” has been one of the few mishaps in the past year that didn’t involve banned substances.

Every sport has been pressured to increase drug testing and weed out those still using the taboo substances. The two sports most recently hit with steroid allegations are pro wrestling and golf.

If the drug and cheating allegations haven’t been enough to open the public eye to this situation, former WCW wrestler Chris Benoit’s recent double murder-suicide has played a key role.

Benoit was found dead along with his wife Nancy and 7-year-old son, Daniel, in a shocking case that brought the steroid scandal to congress.

In light of the Benoit case, Congress has demanded a more strict drug testing program for the world of professional wrestling.

With each new story of cheating, young athletes are forced to reevaluate their idea of a role model. Who can they believe in? Baseball, America’s pastime, has been hit the hardest with steroid controversy.

Barry Bonds has been severely criticized for his alleged steroid abuse during the highly publicized 2003 record-breaking season.

Even after hitting the home run that helped him surpass Hank Aaron’s longtime record, Bonds has not gained back the acceptance and respect of fans.

High school and college athletes are now routinely exposed to these high-profile sports scandals and are forced to see the embellished stories continually on 24-hour media outlets.

Will Barry Bonds’ uphill battle with the media and fans discourage the baseball greats of tomorrow?

What we do know is that spygate and the latest O.J. Simpson cases will penetrate the minds of the college athletes now attempting to make it to the professional level.

Will the scandals of our generation affect the athletes of tomorrow? Will Barry Bonds permanently tarnish the reputation of baseball? Only time will tell.

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