Recently, the controversy surrounding the use of steroids and performance-enhancing drugs by Olympic and professional athletes has captured the media spotlight, in part as a response to the very public and pervasive steroids scandal plaguing Major League Baseball (MLB). This article examines trends in Americans’ attitudes toward the use of steroids and performance-enhancing drugs in Olympic and professional sport as a way to better understand the messaging challenges that policy makers, players, managers, coaches, and publicists face when trying to influence the media agenda. As the poll data presented suggest, Americans feel that the incidence of performanceenhancing- drug use in professional sport is significant, especially in MLB. Furthermore, Americans suggest that the leadership of various professional sports is not doing enough to combat the use of steroids and performance-enhancing drugs by top competitors.
Becker is a doctoral student in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Wisconsin–Madison, Madison, WI 53706. Scheufele, with the Dept. of Life Sciences Communication, is her academic advisor.