If you’re looking for a perfect example of how uninformed the general sports media is concerning performance-enhancing drugs, be sure to tune in to Fox Sports Radio’s pathetic pair of Brian Webber and Derrick Deese, the latter a former offensive lineman that played 13 NFL seasons.
On Saturday afternoon, the hot topic of Alex Rodriguez’s steroid use was on the plate and how little these sportscasters know about the substances and their affects was remarkable. Webber, who sounded as if his only athletic achievements ended with that extra-inning punch ball game at the ripe old age of 12, proceeded to make statements such as “Steroids will kill you,” and used Lyle Alzado, Ken Caminiti and Chris Benoit as examples.
Can steroids kill you? Any drug in excess probably can, but throwing these three names out there just proves that Webber failed to do his homework. He even acknowledged that Alzado had cancer, but said that it was “testicular.” Now, Alzado did pass away from cancer – and not steroids, which has been stated over and over by the medical profession – but it was a brain tumor that felled him.
Caminiti, who retired in 2001, admitted in a Sports Illustrated article a year later that he used steroids during his 1996 MVP season and for a few seasons after that. He had an alcohol and cocaine problem throughout his playing career and died from, according to the official New York City Medical Examiner’s report, “acute intoxication due to the combined effects of cocaine and opiates.” Now please tell me why a man who was three years removed from the game and a heavy drug user also be taking steroids?
Following the tragedy that was the Benoit double murder-suicide, people were quick to judge and call it the so-called ‘roid rage’ factor. Following a toxicology test, the chief medical examiner determined that “there was no indication that anything in Benoit’s body contributed to his violent behavior.”
Benoit did have mental issues and was on medication for it, which probably contributed to his actions even more than his steroid use. He also had severe brain damage due to suffering many concussions over the years in the wrestling ring, and was determined to have an advanced form of dementia, which most definitely could have contributed to his behavior.
Although Webber was the lead man on this subject, Deese kept agreeing with him as he made error after error. All of these misnomers should be left for the sports bar debates and not predicated by so-called professionals who should be more aware of the facts.
This is what responsible journalists/broadcasters do, especially with sensitive subjects such as this one that involves, for all intents and purposes, science. To just start throwing names and theories that have already been proven wrong leads one to believe that they’ll put just about anyone on the air, especially on weekend fill-in shows.
Although he seemed to be agreeing with Webber’s statements, Deese – who played for San Francisco and Tampa Bay before retiring in 2004 – did acknowledge some truths about steroids, mostly that you have to have a natural talent for them to be of assistance. He gave an example of a baseball player that is a singles hitter will suddenly find gap power if he is using steroids, which Webber reluctantly agreed to after having it explained to him very slowly.
Deese, who earned a Super Bowl ring while playing for the 49ers, stands at 6’3″ and had a playing weight of nearly 300 pounds. Not making any accusations, but steroids and football – especially lineman – usually go hand in hand. One would hope that even if Deese did not use PEDs, he had to be familiar with many that did, and would have at least cut off his radio partner before he made a total fool of himself spewing nonsensical rhetoric.