I've heard many people try to make excuses for the Major League Baseball players that chose to use steroids. One of the most popular ones is the simple: "Well, it wasn't technically a banned substance until 2003, so it wasn't really cheating."
Great logic. Hard to argue with that...if steroids weren't specifically banned, then how can using them be cheating? There's only one problem with that:
They were banned. In 1991.
Former Commissioner Fay Vincent put forth an edict in 1991 that specifically mentioned steroids as part of the list of banned substances that teams should actively test for. He also encouraged teams to work with players who may be using not just steroids but other controlled substances in order to help them quit using.
Houston Chronicle columnist Richard Justice brought this out with an entry in his blog recently, and it is a point that is well worth considering. This revelation does a couple of things -- first of all, it silences those that would make the inane and overly pedantic argument that it wasn't cheating because it wasn't technically against the rules. Secondly, it exposes the difficulty that an impotent commissioner had in implementing a testing program for something that was AGAINST THE RULES! After the strike of 1994, (then-acting) Commissioner Bud Selig had far more important things (in his mind) to worry about than controlling the abuse of steroids among his players. In fact, he actively had an incentive to allow steroid abuse to continue -- increased power and increased home runs led to increased attention and increased cash flow for a league that needed to reconnect to its fanbase. It is a remarkable testament to the power of the Baseball Players' Association and the ability of the Commissioner's Office to turn a blind eye to an obvious problem that it took a full decade to actually begin testing for something that had been banned for that entire time.
Whenever people tell you that it was OK to use steroids because they weren't technically against the rules of baseball, gently remind them that they are completely wrong.