Steroid grandfather still physically and mentally muscular

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    Post Steroid grandfather still physically and mentally muscular


    Steroid grandfather still physically and mentally muscular

    Arizona Republic
    Jul. 9, 2006 12:00 AM

    I met Robert Clapp in the summer of 1991, a few days after a task force of federal, state and local police busted down the door of his Paradise Valley home and hauled him off in cuffs. They may have needed to use two pairs, owing to the size of Clapp's arms and chest.

    Back then, he was dubbed the "Grandfather of Steroids" and was the biggest fish to be netted in a high-profile investigation that authorities called "Operation 'Roid Raid."

    Clapp was 57 years old at the time and readily admitted to having used steroids for over 30 years. The former schoolteacher didn't operate from some dark alley like a crack dealer. For the most part, he was out in the open about being on "the juice."

    As a result of the big bust, Clapp accepted a plea bargain from prosecutors for 27 months in federal prison. Primarily, he said, because the feds threatened to put his wife in jail on a tax charge if he didn't.

    In '91 he told me, "I'm hoping people might just look at me and say, 'Here's a man who has taken anabolic steroids for 33 years and look at him.' From what you hear, I should have been dead at 40. But I'm not. I've put anabolic steroids into my body for over 30 years. I'm not violent. I've got children and grandchildren. All the parts of my body work."

    Fifteen years ago, I remember thinking, "This guy could tear me limb from limb."

    Well, things have changed.

    Clapp is an even older grandfather now. And I'd have to say, "This guy could tear me limb from limb . . . with one hand."

    But that wouldn't happen, because as Clapp points out, he has never had what some call a " 'roid rage."

    "Unfortunately," he said, "all that we've done is to demonize steroids. It's tragic."

    Earlier this month, one of the foremost experts on steroids, Penn State Professor Charles Yesalis, told an interviewer, "It's a shame to say, but we have no idea (about possible long-term effects of steroids.) There have been long-term studies done on alcohol and a variety of drugs like marijuana and heroin but never on steroids."

    "We're out there," Clapp said. "There are guys like me who became involved in steroid use in the 1950s and '60s. And we're still here. There are quite a few of us. If researchers really wanted to study this they could. But we've put such a cloud over the issue that it becomes impossible for anyone to step forward and say that there is another side to the story."

    Clapp has come to take a philosophical view on the subject. It's not so much about steroids anymore, he said, but about what he calls "body sovereignty."

    "It's hard for me to agree that anyone should have control over our bodies," he said. "And things are changing. Steroids are being used. We just use different terms like 'hormone replacement therapy.' It takes time to change people's minds."

    In the meantime, he enjoys his family. He follows the football careers of his grandsons. And he finds the steroid scandal in baseball amusing. He said that while Barry Bonds is made the personification of a cheater, others are given free rides. By way of example he points to one of the most famous home runs in baseball history. It was struck in the 1988 World Series by Kirk Gibson of the Dodgers, who received a cortisone shot before the game.

    "Another steroid," Clapp said.

    Last week, researchers in Australia released a study suggesting that anabolic steroids help older people recover from joint replacement surgery. This, too, makes Clapp chuckle. After more than 40 years on "the juice," his joints are doing fine.


    Steroid grandfather still physically and mentally muscular
    Reach Montini at ed.montini@arizonarepublic.com or (602) 444-8978 or read his blog at montiniblog.azcentral.com.

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    good read!

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