NEW YORK – Sports Illustrated is generally touted as one of the most trusted names in sports journalism, and is regarded by many to be the face of sports print media itself. This could all change, however, in light of shocking allegations that SI has been severely abusing and overusing performance-enhancing drug storylines (PEDs) since as far back as early 2005.
These allegations came from an ironically defunct anti-aging clinic in South Florida, which had provided material for a number of news outlets in recent days. The source claimed that Sports Illustrated published over 24,000 articles in the last eight years alone that featured athletes who may or may not have taken steroids.
Sports Illustrated responded immediately and claimed that it had never, to its knowledge, published any articles about performance-enhancing drugs.
PED storylines have become increasingly prevalent and problematic in journalism of late. With greater pressure to produce intriguing content, many news sources have turned to PED stories to give them the boost they need to stay competitive. For a growing number of today’s reporters, it is nearly impossible to survive without turning to PEDs to some extent.
SI’s transgressions began in earnest, experts said, when it featured an excerpt from the book Game of Shadows in a March 2006 issue. This exposé began a tradition of giving detailed descriptions of convincing circumstantial evidence complemented by vicious anecdotal character attacks in its profile of Barry Bonds. Since then, SI has kept its audience up-to-date with the finer points of every potential scandal in almost every sport, from badminton to cricket.
It remains to be seen what , if anything, will happen to SI in the wake of these allegations. No official investigations have been ordered as of yet, but public opinion could be mounting against the magazine, with the most vocal critics concerned that it is a terrible role model for Sports Illustrated for Kids.