FanDuel - WFBC

April 19, 2005

"If steroids are cheating, why isn't LASIK?": The basic answers to this one are fairly obvious (legality, medical intent, theoretical limits to what can be achieved, etc.) but an interesting essay on Slate highlights a big question for the future. Will we reach a point where even genetic modification is a normal occurrence, and sports stars are formulated rather than trained?

posted by werty to culture at 08:30 AM - 40 comments

Interesting article. To me, LASIK is another option to glasses or contact lenses. Glasses and contacts been used to improve a players vision and hence improve his performace. Case in point, look at the "wild thing" in the Movie "Major League". He was much better after wearing glasses. This arguement against LASIK is an attempt to justify steroids use. LASIK is something that anybody can have done. I dont see it a cheating and more than getting glasses, contacts etc. What about all of various batting gloves and pads?? That could be considered cheating!

posted by daddisamm at 09:14 AM on April 19

It's an interesting question, and you don't even need to get into the what-will-be aspect: LASIK is here now, and at the point where it becomes routine, how do you distinguish it from wearing corrective lenses? Which takes you into an area like PGA Tour, Inc. v. Martin, in which a disabled golfer sued to be allowed to use a golf cart on the PGA tour. I think that the reasoning supporting Martin's petition would also apply to LASIK...but it's all based on a definition of what is normal, and that changes over time. At the point where genetic motification is normal and accessible to just about everyone, I expect it'll be looked at very differently.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 09:21 AM on April 19

What about all of various batting gloves and pads?? Those aren't physical modifications to the player.

posted by grum@work at 09:45 AM on April 19

I would say that LASIK is no different then surgery to correct a broken arm or leg...it's just surgery to fix your eyesight after it starts going downhill. Nothing wrong with it, IMO.

posted by bcb2k2 at 10:04 AM on April 19

Then by the same logic, steroids are medicine to help you deal with the demons of age. Noe that they talk about GM food, what would be the difference in taking steroids and eating beef designed to have "super protein". And isn't cortizone a steroid?? This is a losing battle.

posted by LostInDaJungle at 10:19 AM on April 19

I would disagree with the analogy to PGA Tour, Inc. v. Martin, because its more like if he got a surgical procedure done on his leg and could play by walking through the course, rather than using the cart. I don't think there wouldn't have been any lawsuit had that been an option. I don't think LASIK is different than getting glasses, unless you mean its a better method of improving sight, provided the correction works. Now would I be concerned if someone had their hand surgically modified to throw a splitter that went all over the place?...that would give me cause for concern that it was going too far. I think Pete Incaviglia could have used some LASIK.

posted by chris2sy at 10:32 AM on April 19

Well, one of the arguements against LASIK is that it doesn't just correct vision, but in some cases provides better than 20/20. However, I'm with you on this being a red herring - it aint going to make your swing faster, or stronger - nor you arm. Let's keep the real debate on performance enhancers in proper perspective.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 10:32 AM on April 19

Yeah, but making your eyesight better will make you a better hitter.

posted by yerfatma at 10:55 AM on April 19

What about all of various batting gloves and pads?? Those aren't physical modifications to the player. No but neither is Pine Tar but it is outlawed.

posted by scottypup at 10:56 AM on April 19

Pine Tar but it is outlawed The use of pine tar is more regulated than outlawed actually...

posted by chris2sy at 11:07 AM on April 19

only baseball players r idiots 2 use steriods and bb sucks its like seein snail winnin a race

posted by defrag3x at 11:08 AM on April 19

The Professor strikes again....

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 11:12 AM on April 19

Will we reach a point where even genetic modification is a normal occurrence, and sports stars are formulated rather than trained? Yes, inevitably.

posted by rushmc at 11:17 AM on April 19

Steroids aren't banned simply because they make you a better athlete. They are banned because they have a pile of very detrimental effects on your body, and it's unfair to expect that everyone who wants to be a pro athlete should have to risk all of that to be competitive. If the cream was a magical substance that made you better at everything but had no side effects, it would probably be legal, and used by everyone. The "but LASIK makes your eyesight superhuman" argument holds no water either. I have glasses that improve my eyesight beyond 20/20. Should I not be allowed to wear them when I'm playing hockey or baseball or whatever? 20/20 is just an average. People can have better or worse.

posted by fabulon7 at 11:30 AM on April 19

The Professor strikes again.... *snicker* defrag3x, you're like the 9:55.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 11:32 AM on April 19

sports stars, movie stars, academic stars - they'll all be 'formulated'...unless the new Pope deems genetics to be blasphemous. LASIK is an enhancement. No ambiguity there. But is it a possibly harmful enhancement which peer/professional pressure has thrust upon the athlete? No. As steroids are risky as the article indicates and therefore possibly harmful, the main analogy of 'enhancers' breaks down.

posted by garfield at 11:36 AM on April 19

This may be besides the point somewhat, but what about in the article where they claimed that HGH in adults was okay. However, in the linked PDF article from the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists it seems like they are talking about the use of Growth Hormone in adults with a deficiency, not normal adults...am I missing something there? It also says: "short-term GH treatment is safe in both children and adults...continued monitoring of side effects and long term treatment results is needed." We are talking about use by athletes here, not use by people with pituitary-related disorders. So, unless those guys come under the headings: (1) adult growth hormone deficiency or (2) AIDS-related wasting, then I don't think I would consider that an approved use for HGH in adults.

posted by chris2sy at 12:06 PM on April 19

It used to be that you had to have good genetics just to be able to play sports. Now we can GIVE anyone that ability. When are we going to stop shortchanging our sports figures by expecting them to live up to standards that the human body is incapable of? In the times of the Romans, all it took was good bone structure and good teeth. When will it be time to construct a new coluseum, for our gentetic robot protege? That is what sports is going to come down to.(In My Opinion)

posted by volfire at 12:53 PM on April 19

It used to be that you had to have good genetics just to be able to play sports Not necessarily. Kirby Puckett, Spud Webb, Muggsy Bogues, Don Beebe, Earl Boykins, are all people I can think of off the top of my head that weren't exactly genetically blessed for their sport...but made it anyway. (I don't think anyone is going to genetically engineer more Pucketts, he doesn't seem to fit their genetically enhanced athletic ideal).

posted by chris2sy at 01:07 PM on April 19

posted by volfire at 12:53 PM CST It used to be that you had to have good genetics just to be able to play sports. Now we can GIVE anyone that ability. When are we going to stop shortchanging our sports figures by expecting them to live up to standards that the human body is incapable of? In the times of the Romans, all it took was good bone structure and good teeth. When will it be time to construct a new coluseum, for our gentetic robot protege? That is what sports is going to come down to.(In My Opinion) In My opinion, your opinion sounds like something I would have heard in the Germany of the 1930's. I agree with chris2sy that there are many examples of "bad" genetics who made it. He mentioned Puckett- Remember John Kruk and that gang that played for the Phillies. None of them were Ideal Athletes. This, of course, is my opinion!

posted by daddisamm at 02:02 PM on April 19

LASIK is an enhancement. No ambiguity there. But is it a possibly harmful enhancement which peer/professional pressure has thrust upon the athlete? Just for the record, not all LASIK surgeries are a success. Reading the fine print of the contract you sign when you get it might reveal that there is the chance that you will suffer permanent damage to your eye. It's rare, but it can happen. And no one is forcing people to take steroids, and it would be detrimental for many of the athletes to take steroids based on their sport, style of play or position. Remember John Kruk and that gang that played for the Phillies. None of them were Ideal Athletes. Lenny Dykstra was pretty close to the "ideal athlete" in 1993. Speaking of which... Early Lenny Dykstra Later Lenny Dykstra (check out his guns!) Amazing how people will accuse McGwire and others of being on steroids during those years (1990s) but automatically assume that their favourite players weren't on them at the same time. Blindly accusing players of steroids based on anecdotal evidence is a game that EVERYONE can play!

posted by grum@work at 02:10 PM on April 19

Hey, Puckett totally could have been on steroids...that isn't what I'm saying...I met the guy and he was huge, in his chest and arms, like he could lift a car. I didn't think he looked like he was on steroids, but you never know until they pee for you, sometimes not even then.

posted by chris2sy at 02:19 PM on April 19

Lenny and the boys could have been juicing. They certainly werent ideal athletic models... Dykstra and his bulge of chew dripping all over.. Who knows, maybe they were all juicin!.

posted by daddisamm at 02:36 PM on April 19

And no one is forcing people to take steroids :: its still a choice, but how free of a choice is the question. the pressure starts at an early age, and only increases with time. would be detrimental for many of the athletes to take steroids based on their sport, style of play or position :: I would assume a trainer would specialize a juice regiment for an individual athlete's needs/wants. And I was gonna throw in the LASIK disclaimer, but with the new 'no blade' LASIK, the procedure is safer than ever. (Infinity Broadcasting, I'm waiting for my check)

posted by garfield at 02:51 PM on April 19

Thanks Weedy in terms of performance enhancement, how about the idea of pre-emptive Tommy John surgery to get a little more juice on the fastball? yea or nay?

posted by gspm at 03:27 PM on April 19

I've been wondering about that as well, though the original spokesperson for TJ, Billy Kock, needs to be replaced.

posted by yerfatma at 03:50 PM on April 19

Kock?

posted by wfrazerjr at 03:54 PM on April 19

I'm sorry, was that out loud? Koch. He just happens to be a cock.

posted by yerfatma at 05:05 PM on April 19

That was the stupidest article that I have ever read. What kind of little child wrote the article that the link is to? A week ago, Tiger Woods was celebrated for winning golf's biggest tournament, the Masters, with the help of superior vision he acquired through laser surgery. With the help of Superior vision? Tiger woods sees 20/20. That is what your born with. That's the correct eyesight that your susposed to have!!! If you have less than that, it could be from tons of different things and you would wear contacts or glasses instead. The Lasik proceedure only corrects your vision to what it is susposed to be, it doesn't make your vision some ungodly amount better than everyone else. Get a clue and a life. Steroids is cheating and it always will be...

posted by kurt71 at 07:12 PM on April 19

The Lasik proceedure only corrects your vision to what it is susposed to be, it doesn't make your vision some ungodly amount better than everyone else. But it can. Plenty of people report 20/10 or 20/15 vision after LASIK. How would someone with 20/20 vision getting LASIK be different from doing a cycle of steroids?

posted by yerfatma at 08:07 PM on April 19

Gary Sheffield, for example.

posted by yerfatma at 08:53 PM on April 19

Steroids are a drug. An enhancement drug. Some players may think marijauna or cocaine is an enhancement drug. Lasik is a procedure. So is surgery for a injury. So do they need to outlaw Lasik and say that a doctor can only repair an injury to the point before the injury? I think baseball should get the game back to where it was before the big salaries. And its time for a salary cap.

posted by cheifsfan at 11:17 PM on April 19

Wait, so steroids are only wrong because they're a drug? And you would have baseball return to the days when the owners kept 99% of the profits? What difference would that make? Your seats would still cost the same amount.

posted by yerfatma at 05:30 AM on April 20

Thats like saying why isnt the small size in pants cheating!!!

posted by baseballchick2_2 at 05:31 PM on April 20

Pants US or Pants UK?

posted by yerfatma at 06:30 PM on April 20

I assume we'd have to ensure that crowds at the games are much smaller too, as they were in the days of lower salaries?

posted by spira at 12:35 AM on April 21

It's not only disputed whether or not Steroids actually increase "performance", it's generally accepted that steroids do permanent and harmful damage to your body. But steroids were a weak lead-in to a more interesting point anyway. Our society medicinal powers are reaching a point where they intersect with sports in an interesting way. Everyone is happy when a patient successfully undergoes a heart transplant, because they see that a life was saved. However, we also have the ability to improve people who already are "ok". We can make them "better" than they were before. To the sports enthusiast, this seems to be saying that we can create better athlete's without them having to "earn" it. That is, there seems to me to be this notion that what it means to be an athlete is partially a function of how you deal with whatever physical gifts you happened to be born with. This gives us all the more reason to cheer the Doug Flutie's of the world, and root against the Ivan Drago's. If this perception of mine has any value at all, then the advances of medicine would seem to be in conflict with this view. LASIK surgery is just the start, think about genetic improvement of babies, such that they "naturally" possess whatever primary characteristics are most valuable in the field chosen for them - large hands, exothermic body types, long feet for swimmers, the list goes on and on. A future NBA where everyone on the court has the same body and game as a Garnett the Dirkster. Are you (the fan) really watching something you can identify with? Are you now?

posted by chmurray at 04:42 AM on April 21

Garnett OR the Dirkster although i kinda like the sound of Garnett the Dirkster...

posted by chmurray at 04:43 AM on April 21

and root against the Ivan Drago's I was so disappointed with Rocky IV that I was cheering for Drago by the end of it.

posted by grum@work at 06:17 AM on April 21

If he dies, he dies.

posted by yerfatma at 07:11 AM on April 21

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