Twenty-six years ago, in response to a Daily News investigation into steroids in pro football, NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle sent a letter to the league's players and club personnel warning them about steroids. At the time, the league had no official policy on steroids. "You should be aware that anabolic steroids are among the thousands of prescription drugs which can be obtained illegally but which must not be misused by players in the NFL," Rozelle wrote in the letter.
The reaction to the letter?
"People are going to take them," Denver Broncos defensive-line coach Stan Jones told the Daily News' Paul Domowitch. "I'm not going to stop them, the league's not going to stop them, nobody's going to stop them. If a guy thinks [steroids] are the answer, he's going to take them."
In 1983, the Daily News spent 3 months investigating steroid use in the NFL and published a multipart series that showed more and more players were turning to steroids and the medical and football communities divided on the potential side effects.
To read that groundbreaking investigation by Paul Domowitch, go to our Web site at http://go.philly.com/steroids.
Twenty years ago, the NFL became the first pro sports league to suspend players for positive tests for performance-enhancing drugs. Over the last 4 years, 43 players have been suspended. This story details that issue and compares the NFL's response and results to the current issues relating to PEDs facing Major League Baseball. We also, for the first time, polled Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors to ask how a positive test would impact their vote for a player.