Kansas City Royals pitcher Eric Skoglund has been suspended for 80 games after testing positive for the performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) S-22 (Ostarine) and LGD-4033 (Ligandrol). Skoglund is relatively new to the MLB (started in 2017), and the team’s general manager made a statement saying that Skoglund “unknowingly made a mistake”, and that Skoglund will still be supported by his team.
This protection given by the Royals coach reeks of the possibly negative consequences of “getting ahead of the game” at this elite level. Elite athletes are not foreign to the notion of doping to improve sport performance. Skoglund’s newness to the team may have been a factor leading up to this doping event, as he may have been eager to do well as a new player, while also displaying the “strive for perfection” tenet of the sport ethic. These factors culminate into potentially making Skoglund more susceptible to self-inflicted pressures to do what it takes to succeed. The MLB is known to be reluctant in addressing doping issues, due to tension between team owners and MLBPA.
Doping as a norm in sports culture reflects the ideas stemming from conflict theory as “doing what it takes to win” becomes more and more socially acceptable as a way for teams to be successful and profitable. Whether or not Skoglund intentionally used these PEDs to gain an advantage, or if it really was an “accident”, this shows how doping as a form of deviance in sports has become a common practice, and that a coach’s leniency protects the team and players from the possibility of losing their position on the team.