By Dave Baker

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When Barry Bonds hit his 756th home run this past summer he shattered baseball’s biggest record. He has hit more home runs during his long career than anyone else ever has — but some people are claiming the record is dirty. They say that Bonds used steroids (illegal drugs) years ago to help him hit more home runs, but he says that’s not true.

Bonds has never tested positive for steroids, and his trainer, who was charged in court with supplying steroids to baseball players, says that Bonds never took the drugs and that he never gave them to Bonds. The entire sport of baseball is in the middle of a huge scandal. Investigators say they now have the names of dozens of professional players who have bought steroids.

That list of names has not been made public yet, but it is only a matter of time. Big-name baseball stars might be on the list of steroid users. Sports Illustrated magazine quoted a baseball source who said the list “is going to blow your mind.”

How would you feel if you found out your favorite player is a cheater?

Baseball is not the only sport in the news lately for steroids. The Tour de France bicycle race was hurt by steroid use this year, and that followed tests showing that last year’s winner had also used steroids. Some professional golfers are now being accused of using steroids, too.

Steroids have been around a long time, and athletes take a big chance by using them. If they get caught it would be very embarrassing, and they may get sent to jail. Steroids can also be dangerous to their health because the drugs are not monitored by the government.

So why do some athletes take steroids? Probably because winning at sports brings them more money and more popularity with fans. We look up to winning athletes as our heroes and role models.

Athletes are supposed to play fair and not use drugs to help them get ahead — yet some do. Is cheating the right choice? What do you think makes a real winner?