COMMENTS: Clean up Hitters

The investigation into doping by steroids in major league baseball was so newsworthy that it transcended the sports section, noted NBC's Mike Taibbi. He showed us "ugly front pages scream the obvious headlines" and picked up on sentiment that the Mitchell Report should result in "more than just another list of suspect big names and another promise to finally clean up the game." For example, Marion Jones, the onetime Olympic golden girl caught cheating at track and field, is facing more than shame--she is "perhaps headed for prison." In his lead story for CBS, Armen Keteyian moved on to HGH "the new drug of choice in sport," a synthetic form of a protein produced by the pituitary gland to stimulate cell development. In recent years Human Growth Hormone has been widely available in anti-aging clinics: "In Hollywood it is seen as a fountain of youth for reducing fat and wrinkles. In sports it is used to build muscles, to speed recovery and to extend careers." The timeline to develop a laboratory test to catch HGH cheats "is likely to be years."

On Thursday CBS' John Blackstone followed up on baseball's professional superstars to examine the much more frequent abuse of steroids by amateur athletes in high school. Now John Berman, too, takes A Closer Look for ABC and his reporting paints a picture that is less bleak than Blackstone's. Berman found that since 2004, when the major league's scandal first attracted notoriety, the reported abuse of steroids by high school students has been cut in half. Berman credited education campaigns about health risks such as "heart disease, liver tumors, depression" and random testing in some states.


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