League of Fans

Founded by Ralph Nader, League of Fans is a sports reform project working to improve sports by increasing awareness of the sports industry's relationship to society, exposing irresponsible business practices, ensuring accountability to fans, and encouraging the industry to contribute to societal well-being.

Email Alerts

Alerts is League of Fans' email announcements list. Alerts provides news, information, the actions of League of Fans and/or Ralph Nader regarding sports issues, and calls-to-action for subscribers. All email updates are either selected or written by League of Fans.


League of Fans is motivated by people, just like you, who are upset with what has become of our sports and would like to make a difference. We work with concerned citizens, sports fans, civic groups and communities to increase awareness of the sports industry's relationship to society, influence a broad range of issues in sports at all levels and encourage the cooperative capacities that make the "sports powers-that-be" capable of helping, not just dominating, our society and culture.

News / Resources

We often think of sports as outside the realm of everyday citizen concern. But the many benefits to society that sports can provide are sometimes undermined by a different set of values, often based on the quest for higher and higher profits at the expense of fans, taxpayers, communities, culture and social justice.

Your Role

Get Involved! Your involvement will improve sports for communities and fans, and encourage the sports industry to better contribute to societal well-being.


League of Fans - November 19, 2003
1. Performance-enhancing drugs and supplements
2. Performance-enhancer prevention
3. BCS (Big Cash Scheme)


Performance-enhancing drugs and supplements

The discovery and possible widespread use of the steroid tetrahydrogestrinone (THG) has unleashed another round of skepticism as to the credibility of spectator sports in the United States, as well as concerns over the public health implications of abuse.

The use of steroids and other drugs and dietary supplements to enhance performance in sports not only puts the health of athletes (or guinea pigs) in professional, collegiate and Olympic sports in danger, but also the health of the many teenagers in high school and even middle school sports who emulate those athletic role models through pill-popping and injections. In addition, the use of performance-enhancers shatters the public trust and boils down to one important word that nobody in the sports world, at any level, wants to hear: CHEATING.

Dope and glory
SI.com - October 29, 2003
..."Doping is to sport very much like terrorism is to nations. It is insidious. OK, there's a lot of bad stuff that's always gone on in sports. But, at the core, we are always drawn to the physical majesty of the young men and women who do wondrous things with their bodies. Sport is art, aesthetics -- tabulated. We are outraged at games that are fixed. Drugs fix bodies. It's the same thing, and we know it."

Athletics Chief Does Not Expect THG Epidemic
Reuters - November 5, 2003

Four U.S. Athletes Test Positive for Steroid THG
Reuters - October 22, 2003

Doping watchdog finds huge steroid conspiracy
ESPN the Magazine - October 16, 2003

A deadly game of politics
ESPN The Magazine - March 18, 2003



Performance-enhancer prevention

The frenzied press coverage, federal investigation and concern among communities across the country about the use of the steroid THG, designed to be undetectable in drug tests, has prompted quick action among governing bodies and government agencies. This is encouraging, but much more needs to be done.

A national and community effort must aim to eliminate performance-enhancing drugs and supplements from sports. From professional, collegiate and Olympic athletes taking unregulated performance-enhancers and trying to beat testing systems, to the teen-aged athletes in middle school and high school sports putting their health at risk to be like the pros and gain an edge, the misuse of drugs to enhance sports performance is a growing concern in this country. Along with carrying the risk of serious health problems and the risk of injury, the use of performance-enhancing drugs and supplements is against everything sports stand for. Their use breaks the code of fair play as well as the laws of sports and society.

Bonds Defends Trainer, Himself in Steroid Scandal
Reuters - November 19, 2003
"Anderson is a target of the federal grand jury investigating BALCO, a Bay Area laboratory believed to be at the heart of a scandal around the new designer steroid THG (tetrahydrogestrinone). For three years BALCO provided Bonds with nutritional supplements. 'I can't answer any questions about Greg Anderson, I don't know what a person does after he leaves me,' Bonds said."...

A Chemistry Test For Team Players
Washington Post - November 18, 2003

THG Creates Tense Present
Washington Post - November 18, 2003

Baseball Set for Automatic Steroid Tests
Washington Post - November 14, 2003

Steroids plan lacks punch
SI.com - November 13, 2003

NCAA to Test for New Designer Steroid
Reuters - November 12, 2003

Bans Could Be Reduced For Doping Information
News Services - November 11, 2003

Doping: Green Light Given for THG Re-Test
Reuters - November 10, 2003

Bonds Willing to Be Tested for New Steroid
Reuters - November 7, 2003

New York becomes second state to ban ephedra
Associated Press - November 3, 2003

WADA Calls on All Sports to Test for New Designer Drug
Reuters - October 24, 2003

Ephedra-based supplement company bankrupt
Associated Press - October 22, 2003

Giambi, Bonds subpoenaed by federal grand jury
ESPN.com - October 20, 2003

* Take Action! *

1) Unlike drug products that must be proven by the FDA to be safe and effective for their intended use before marketing, the Dietary Supplement Health & Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA) frees any product that calls itself a dietary supplement, like ephedra, from federal regulation before they reach the consumer and does not require manufacturers and distributors to record, investigate or forward to the FDA any reports they receive of injuries or illnesses that may be related to the use of their products.

"Congress must repeal the Dietary Supplement Health & Education Act of 1994," said Ralph Nader. "Public health and safety needs to come before the interests of the powerful and well-funded supplement industry that showers congressional Republicans and Democrats with political contributions."

Urge Congress to take real action against the Dietary Supplement Health & Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA).

Contact your senators

Contact your representative

Call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard to be connected with your senators' or representative's office:
(202) 224-3121

2) Tell Major League Baseball and the Player's Union to get steroids and performance-enhancing supplements out of their league. Their current testing policy is a joke. Supplement companies are changing the culture of sports, and creating a public health menace all the way down to the junior high athletes who easily purchase and fill their lockers with unregulated supplements and performance-enhancers so they can be like the pros.

Allan H. (Bud) Selig
Commissioner, Major League Baseball
245 Park Ave.
New York, NY 10167

tel (212) 931-7800
fax (212) 949-8636

Donald M. Fehr
Director, Major League Baseball Players Association
12 E. 49th St., 24th Fl.
New York, NY 10017

tel (212) 826-0808
fax (212) 752-4378

3) Emphasize participation over winning in your own household and community. The pressure of a sports environment that has a "win at all costs" attitude jeopardizes health and safety and increases the potential for injury. Our current sports culture fuels the use of performance-enhancing substances at almost all levels of competition and age groups, as well as in most sports. Putting the health and safety of players at risk just to win should have no place in sports. For players, sports should be about safe participation and enjoyment, never winning at all costs.

4) Visit League of Fans' "Performance-Enhancing Drugs" page for more information on the use of steroids and performance-enhancing supplements in sports.

Also see:
Ralph Nader and League of Fans Urge Leaders to Take Real Action Against Ephedra and Dietary Supplement Law (3/11/03)



BCS (Big Cash Scheme)

As long as the BCS v. non-BCS (or have's v. have not's) issue in college football is dominated by money, and by the conferences, networks and sponsors that are part of the Bowl Championship Series, nothing will change to improve the system, to get rid of the favoritism and corruption, or to make college football more about football and fair competition. Instead, it will only get worse.

The six major conferences and Notre Dame have access to the BCS (which was invented by them as a way to line their own pockets) bowl games and all the money that goes with them, while the rest of Division I-A schools do not. Unfortunately, the non-BCS schools are arguing for the wrong things. They are becoming part of the problem by only trying to get a bigger piece of the money-pie rather than focusing on breaking up the elite Bowl Championship that allows only two schools to compete for the National Championship, closes out non-BCS schools altogether, removes any chance for a fair playoff system and encourages the professionalization of college football.

It's easy to get fed up with BCS schools, but don't expect changes
SI.com - November 5, 2003
"I love college presidents when it comes to sports. Most of them know very well how athletics make a mockery of academia . . . well, of course, at everybody else's college. Athletic departments pretty much operate as wholly owned independent subsidiaries of the Corporation of Alumni Amusement."...

Instead of BCS progress, fans get absolutely nothing
SportsLine.com - November 16, 2003

BCS will not change significantly
Associated Press - November 16, 2003

Antitrust investigation planned in BCS dispute?
Associated Press - November 15, 2003

* Take Action! *

1) Write to NCAA President Myles Brand and ask that he take a lead role in reversing the professionalization and reliance on cash in college athletics. For Division I-A college football, we suggest that he work to dissolve the BCS, decrease the reliance of major college football programs on bowl game pay-outs, and institute a fair college football playoff.

Myles Brand
National Collegiate Athletic Association
P.O. Box 6222
Indianapolis, IN 46206

tel (317) 917-6222
fax (317) 917-6888

Email Dennis L. Poppe, of the NCAA Division I Football Issues Committee and send your thoughts and suggestions concerning the BCS.

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GOOD SPORTS / BAD SPORTS is an email bulletin of recent news items and suggested actions regarding issues in the world of sports. It goes out regularly to League of Fans "Alerts" listserv subscribers.

Help spread the word! Send copies of this message to your friends and join the growing movement of people who are fed up with what the sports industry has become and want to do something about it. If you would like to add yourself to the "Alerts" list, sign up at alerts_signup.html.

Founded by Ralph Nader, the mission of League of Fans is to improve sports by working as a sports industry watchdog to increase awareness of the industry's relationship to society, expose irresponsible business practices, ensure accountability to fans, and encourage the sports industry to contribute to societal well-being.

To find out more about League of Fans, visit www.leagueoffans.org or write to [email protected].