Who knew about the prevalence of performance-enhancing drugs in sports? A few clear-eyed journalists. Not all reporters were interested in chasing the story, but the following shows just enough of them were willing to get to the heart of the scourge beneath the surface.
APRIL: Jeff Bradley of ESPN The Magazine writes that in the early '90s, his brother, Scott Bradley was struggling with hitting woes, when a former player suggested he try steroids. Scott Bradley declined and his career soon took a bigger dive.
JULY: Luke Cyphers and Michael O'Keeffe of the New York Daily News analyze the then-$4 billion unregulated sports supplement industry and describe its role in transforming sports culture and creating a "public health menace."
JUNE: Sports Illustrated's Tom Verducci writes an article about steroids in baseball in which Ken Caminiti, the 1996 NL MVP, becomes the first MLB player to admit to using. Caminiti also claims that 50% of his former peers played with the same anabolic assist.
FEBRUARY: CBS News correspondent Sharyl Attkisson reports that a weight loss supplement containing ephedra contributed to the death of Steve Bechler, a 23-year old Orioles pitcher. Bechler collapsed during spring training conditioning drills. A bottle of Xenadrine RFA-1 was later discovered in his locker.
MARCH: The Associated Press's Nicole Ziegler writes that two teammates of Rashidi Wheeler, the Northwestern University football player who died during an August 2001 conditioning drill, saw him take dietary supplements shortly before he collapsed. Toxicology tests revealed the drug ephedra.
NOVEMBER: Following a Feds' raid the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO), distributor of THG, a designer steroid, ESPN The Magazine's Peter Keating and Shaun Assael take an in-depth look into the rise and fall of BALCO owner Victor Conte. The article builds on earlier pieces published in the Los Angeles Times and the San Francisco Chronicle.
NOVEMBER: The San Francisco Chronicle's Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams report that Bill Romanowski's wife told two investigators that the Raiders linebacker obtained HGH in 1999 from BALCO.
APRIL: Citing an IRS report, Elliott Almond and Pete Carey of the San Jose Mercury News write that BALCO owner Conte told federal authorities he gave steroids to 27 pro athletes including Barry Bonds, Gary Sheffield, Jason Giambi, Dana Stubblefield, Johnnie Morton, Bill Romanowski, Marion Jones and Tim Montgomery.
AUGUST: Elliott Almond of the San Jose Mercury News ties Kostas Kenteris, the defending Olympic champion in the 200 meters, and training partner Katerina Thanou, to BALCO. Citing confidential emails, he reports that Conte tried to warn the sprinters as early as 2002 that the previously undetectable THG they were using had been discovered by international track and field officials.
DECEMBER: The San Francisco Chronicle's Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams reveal that Jason Giambi admitted to a federal grand jury he knowingly used steroids and human growth hormone.
DECEMBER: Fainaru-Wada and Williams write that Barry Bonds testified to a federal grand jury that he had unknowingly used steroids.
FEBRUARY: 60 Minutes airs an interview with Jose Canseco in which the former Oakland A's slugger tells Mike Wallace that Mark McGwire, Jason Giambi, Rafael Palmeiro, Juan Gonzalez and Ivan Rodriguez all used steroids. Many dismiss the accusations, which appear the next day in Canseco's book, Juiced.
FEBRUARY: New York Daily News writers Christian Red, T.J. Quinn and Michael O'Keeffe publish an article revealing the FBI informed baseball of its steroid problem in the mid '90s, but the league failed to act.
MARCH: San Diego Padres GM Kevin Towers tells ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney that he had long suspected former Padre Ken Caminiti of steroid use, but remained silent because of the team's success.
MARCH: New York Daily News writers Michael O'Keeffe, T.J. Quinn and Christian Red discover that McGwire's and Canseco's names had come up repeatedly in an FBI steroid investigation during the early '90s dubbed "Operation Equine." (Four days later, while speaking to a Congressional committee at a hearing about baseball and performance-enhancing drugs, a tearful McGwire refuses to deny he'd ever taken steroids.)
MARCH: 60 Minutes Wednesday discovers that three Carolina Panthers filled prescriptions for steroids shortly before the 2004 Super Bowl. They received the prescriptions from Dr. James Shortt, a so-called "longevity physician." Because none of the players ever tested positive, the report questions the effectiveness of the NFL's steroid policy, as well as the credibility of doctors like Shortt.
APRIL: Lance Pugmire of the Los Angeles Times reports that Lenny Dykstra used steroids before and during the 1993 season in an effort to produce big numbers and reap the financial benefits.
AUGUST: The New York Times's Lee Jenkins writes on the newspaper's website that the steroid that Rafael Palmeiro tested positive for prior to surpassing the 3,000 hit mark was stanozolol, which does not come in dietary supplements. The story undermined the Orioles star's claims that he had never knowingly ingested anabolics.