Today I give you my first part in a weekly series. It is an Olympic year and the cynic in me cannot resist the timing involved. I do not discriminate against any sport, and a player needs to be retired or banned (at least effectively) from the sport in order to qualify. Steroids are with us and we will never again be free from them. So it is time to honor those who have altered the sports landscape with their very own Hall of Fame. To qualify to have to be great, both athletically (after the 'roids!) and have had an impact on the sporting landscape. This is for the best of the best, and although I use the word Steroids I mean all performance enhancers. I will not judge and will not use the word cheater. I will just state the accomplishments both on and off the field to justify their inclusion in such an elite club.
We start where steroids started for me as a a child of the '80's: Lyle Alzado. I remember him tearing up the field like a Tasmanian Devil and I remember him bald, and broken as he neared death.
On Field: Although not quite good enough to make it to Canton he makes it here because if we never knew about his steroid use we'd know about his play on the field. Approximately 100 sacks over 15 years, 2 pro-bowls, comeback player of the year 1982, and a Super Bowl Champion on the 1983 LA Raiders.
Drug Use: He was a user from 1969 onward. Wow! We get pissed at Barry Bonds for starting over 20 years later and act as though this was something new. He didn't start at the end of his career or at recover from an injury, he stared while in College and all the way through. Although he blamed the steroid use for his cancer, which killed him in 1992, we will never know if there is any correlation. All we know is that he is dead. Those last images of him were shocking to me, and it seemed like he was a different man and not the fierce football player I knew only a few years before. He also allegedly used human growth hormone harvested from corpses. That is as hardcore as it gets folks. So congratulations Lyle on being the first official inductee. Your death did not scare away enough people and we are left, long after the wake of your legacy has calmed, with a drug culture in our current sports landscape worse than any scene in North Dallas Forty. I wish nearly as much as you that others were able to learn the lessons from your mistakes. I choose you first because steroid use will always bother me and because I feel helpless to stop it.