WASHINGTON (AP) -- A key congressman says the "apparently widespread use" of steroids in pro wrestling is sending a bad message to youngsters, and he wants the government to do something about it.
In a letter released Friday, Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., requested that John Walters, director of the president's Office of National Drug Control Policy, "examine the systemic deficiencies in the testing policies and practices of professional wrestling."
Waxman, chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, has led a congressional investigation into steroid use in professional wrestling for more than a year, spurred in part by the murder-suicide deaths of wrestler Chris Benoit and his family in Georgia in June 2007.
Waxman is leaving the oversight committee to become chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, and his letter offered a final look at the findings that focused on top pro wresting bodies World Wrestling Entertainment and Total Nonstop Action.
"Since the committee began its investigation last year, both the WWE and the TNA have made efforts to improve their steroid testing programs," Waxman wrote. "But these efforts suffer from a lack of independence and transparency. As a result of these weaknesses, the organizations appear unable to effectively prevent the use of steroids and other illegal drugs by professional wrestlers."
Waxman wrote that one former wrestler who agreed to talk to the committee on condition of anonymity said that, in the wrestling business, "steroids are like white socks and tape, they're just part of your gear."
"Over three million children and teenagers watch professional wrestling each week," Waxman's letter said. "The apparently widespread use of steroids in professional wrestling sends the wrong message to youth."