Why do some elite athletes consider doping acceptable?
2 Discussions

Well for starters, alot of athletes will do anything to get to the top and if this involves taking a couple of pills or injections to increase their performance then I guess to them it's fine.

These elite athletes know better than anyone how difficult it is to maintain their form as well as to maintain their fitness and alot of them are more than willing to dope to maintain and even exceed their normal level of fitness.

I mean at the end of the day it's who wins the contest that matters, how you win it isn't the issue, just win it. After all doping is only wrong if you get caught and that's probably why alot of them have no issues with doping.

If we look specifically at the emotions and attitudes toward doping anticipated by the players/elite players, then it can be seen that decisions are likely to be made based on how much guilt a person is expecting to feel. Some athletes prefer to disengage or distance themselves from the moral aspects of doping, leading to lower feelings of guilt. For example, they think that doping is acceptable because it helps their team, and is a way to maximize their potential. Or they might feel it is acceptable because other athletes also dope. These justifications suppress the guilt athletes expected to feel, which is what prevents us from cheating. These lower feelings of guilt, in turn, are associated with a greater likelihood to dope.

If an athlete can justify their actions to themselves, they will feel less guilt, which makes them more likely to dope. If we reinforce the message that doping is cheating, athletes are less likely to do it. The key factor which seems to protect athletes from doping is moral identity. This means how important it is to the players to be a moral person, and how strong their moral values, such as being fair or honest, are. Those players who have a strong moral identity do not use justifications for doping, expected to feel more guilt for doping, and ultimately are less likely to dope.

Coaching environments also matter. The coaches' behaviour and the 'performance climate' in which athletes are being trained also has a significant effect on their doping likelihood. If coaches are creating a climate in which players who make a mistake are penalised, or if they give undue attention to the best players, athletes are more likely to turn towards banned substances. The coach can, therefore, play an important role in doping prevention.

Engaging athletes at a moral level is important, but how to do this and the types of messages an athlete should receive can be difficult to know. So a better understanding on how these messages can be framed is more important. The type of climate that is promoted by coaches and those closest to the athlete can have a significant impact on how likely someone is to dope, and this may be done unwittingly, making it all the more important for education interventions to address going forward.