An Open Letter to the International Federation of BodyBuilders Pro Division (IFBB), and the National Physique Committee (NPC), on the Recent Federal Indictment of NPC Texas Chairperson Lee Thompson on Steroid Conspiracy Charges
Dear Jim Manion, Scott Lyons, Brad Craig, Miles Nuessle, Chad Nicholls, Jon Lindsay, Steve O'Brien, Jeff Taylor, Darrin Montanari, Jerry Montanari, Todd Howe, Pete Fancher, Peter Potter, Patrick Sporer, Tyrone Felder, Cindy Lee, Greg Wright, Chuck Sanow, Ed Sanders, Ernest Bea, Sandy Riedinger, Luke Tesvich, Dave Follansbee, Rich Siegelman, Will Dabish, Christine Bongiovanni, Don Hollis, Rick Kasten, Steve Karr, John Kemper, Clark Sanchez, James Rockell, Steve Weinberger, Mike Valentino, Rick Bayardi, Eileen Luis, Ron Smith, Gary Udit, Maggie Blanchard, Tres Bennett, Roger McConnell, Lee Thompson, Steve Schmall, Marvin Chappell, Al Modrzejewski:
The Anabolic Steroid Control Act of 1990 criminalized the non-medical use of anabolic steroids (AAS) for the purpose of improving muscle strength, body composition and physical appearance. Bodybuilders who use anabolic steroids for physique enhancement have since faced the possibility of arrest and prosecution if caught in possession of steroids even for merely personal use. This has had disastrous effects on gainfully-employed, otherwise law-abiding individuals who have been arrested and prosecuted under federal steroid laws. The stigma and loss of reputation associated with federal drug charges persist even when charges are dismissed or downgraded.
The use of anabolic steroids in competitive bodybuilding is, by all accounts, widespread and pervasive. Not surprisingly, numerous individuals associated with the network of competitive bodybuilding, including IFBB/NPC competitors, have been entered into the criminal justice system due to their alleged involvement with AAS. The IFBB/NPC has been conspicuously silent on the increasing number of bodybuilders, personal trainers, and gym owners specifically targeted by overzealous prosecutors.
The recent arrest and indictment of NPC Texas Chairperson Lee Thompson on federal anabolic steroid conspiracy charges presented an opportunity for the IFBB/NPC to publicly criticize existing steroid laws and the application of those laws in a modern-day witch-hunt. Regrettably, IFBB/NPC official(s) instead may have attempted to cover up and suppress the information. When the attempted deception was embarrassingly exposed, matters were made worse when the public disclosure of the truth was maligned. The IFBB/NPC failed to recognize that the real enemy is NOT the disclosure of the truth BUT the flawed anabolic steroid law enforcement policy that unfairly affects those involved.
The IFBB/NPC leadership has gone to great lengths to maintain the illusion that anabolic steroids are not an issue in competitive bodybuilding. Discussion of the existence of AAS in the IFBB/NPC is strictly prohibited. Any connection between competitorsâ?? steroid-related legal problems and IFBB/NPC sanctioned contests is not permitted. The IFBB/NPC has even revoked press credentials for writer(s) who have violated these unwritten rules.
It is time for the IFBB/NPC to embrace honesty and confront the reality of steroid use in the IFBB/NPC. The IFBB/NPC should openly address the steroid witch-hunt that has affected many IFBB/NPC competitors (and at least one top IFBB/NPC official). The IFBB/NPC needs to speak out against the mainstream steroid hysteria and the war on steroids that have demonized and criminalized the use of AAS for bodybuilding and physique enhancement.
Hopefully, the IFBB/NPC will act, not only to protect its own, but to also protect the legal and physical well-being of the hundreds of athletes who participate in IFBB/NPC sanctioned contests. Such an agenda would include steroid law reform and steroid harm reduction. Competent and forward-thinking leadership is required to transform the perception of the IFBB/NPC from an organization that hypocritically and distrustfully addresses the AAS issue to one that candidly and credibly addresses AAS use.