Washington, DC – The Internet consumer watchdog organization, the Digital Citizens Alliance, is researching the availability of performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) online. Digital Citizens Alliance Executive Director Tom Galvin shared some of the organization's research in an editorial for CNN.com. Galvin made the following remarks after today's announcement that the highest paid player in baseball, Alex Rodriguez, would appeal a 211 game suspension for his part in the Biogenesis-PED case. Twelve other Major League Baseball players accepted suspensions today for 50 games for their connections to Biogenesis, joining former MVP Ryan Braun who accepted a longer suspension last month.
"Today, Alex Rodriguez will return to the Major Leagues while he appeals his suspension. I can understand why he wants to win the love of fans back from the batters' box, but his road to redemption begins at high schools and little league fields. Alex Rodriguez should spend the next 200-plus days reaching out to teen athletes. Many teens believe they have to take steroids just to get their careers started. If he stops one teen from a making a potentially deadly mistake, fans and parents could begin to forgive him. Like few before him, Alex Rodriguez has a chance to help reverse this troubling trend."
"It's not too late for Alex Rodriguez, and other baseball players who are labeled cheaters, to do the right thing. Unfortunately, what teens see now are A-Rod's huge houses, fancy clothes, and famous girlfriends. If A-Rod is sincere in his statements about ridding the game of PEDs, he'd hold himself up as an example of what NOT to do. Rodriguez should come clean and tell his story to teens who need to learn from him. He needs to say the shame outweighs the fame."
A survey by the Digital Citizens Alliance found that nearly half of males aged 18-25 thought that taking PEDs was critical to making it in professional sports or enhancing one’s athletic performance.
More than three-quarters of both young males and parents in our survey said that pro athletes using PEDs has put pressure on young athletes to use drugs as well. And 58 percent of these young males thought that at least one-third of the major leaguers on the rosters in last month’s All-Star Game had used PEDs.
Zogby Analytics conducted the online surveys on July 19-22, 2013, just after the MLB All-Star Game, but before Ryan Braun's suspension was announced. Zogby completed an online survey of 350 males in between the ages of 18-25 in the US. That survey has a margin of error of +/- 5.3 percentage points. The second survey, also online, included 352 adults with male children age 14-25 in the US with a margin of error of +/- 5.3 percentage points.
Digital Citizens Alliance commissioned the surveys as part of its research on teens and steroid use. Those results will be released in full with a larger report later this summer.
About Digital Citizens Alliance
Digital Citizens is a consumer-oriented coalition focused on educating the public and policy makers on the threats that consumers face on the Internet and the importance for Internet stakeholders – individuals, government and industry - to make the Web a safer place. Based in Washington, DC, the Digital Citizens Alliance counts among its supporters: private citizens, the health, pharmaceutical and creative industries as well as online safety experts and other communities focused on Internet safety. For more information, please visit digitalcitizensalliance.org.