New Drug-Testing Idea a Step in Right Direction for MLB | Sports Watch
by Gus Jarvis
Apr 10, 2008 | 713 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
As Roger Clemens and steroid-injecting trainer Brian McNamee duke it out in the courtroom with their big name attorneys, Major League Baseball is progressing toward a solution to its seemingly never ending steroid abuse problem.

Right now the league and the players union have agreed to have an independent administrator oversee baseball’s drug-testing program – a notion that was recommended as a result of the Mitchell Report.

According to a report in The New York Times, this administrator will be appointed to a fixed term and will be given protections from dismissal. Although the agreement between MLB and the players union has yet to be finalized, the solution may be a step in the right direction as the current system is obviously not working.

The current system of administering drug testing includes four representatives, two of which are appointed from MLB and two who are appointed by the players union. Together they create the health policy advisory committee, which oversees the testing program. A fifth person can be appointed to that committee to be the deciding vote if a two-two deadlock occurs. This committee has been questioned in the past on its independence when deciding who gets tested and how many times.

If the new, independent testing administrator is put into place, there should be no question as to why players are tested – they are completely independent. What I am weary of right now is how this “independent” administrator will be hired. What will this hiring process consist of?

I feel like this administrator selection process will be muddled from the beginning. The players union won’t like one candidate that the league likes and vice versa. We all have seen (except those who continue to keep their eyes closed) how contracts are awarded in other problem areas like, hmmmm, Iraq. Those American contractors, i.e. Halliburton, who have “won” contracts to rebuild the country’s infrastructure are obviously, at least to me, not “independent.” And if baseball isn’t careful, this could happen too.

OK, I know what you must be thinking. How did I get from baseball to the endless war in Iraq? I think the simple answer is money. There is a ton of money tied up in Iraq and a ton of money (maybe not as much) tied up in baseball…and professional sports for that matter. Don’t think that baseball’s steroid debacle isn’t costing the league a bunch of money. It could cost more if all of sudden baseball’s greatest players are benched (or thrown behind bars) and the league looks more like the California penal league.

And if this administrator selection process isn’t done properly, it could result in over-testing as well. Who knows what pharmaceutical piss testing companies will be in the ear of baseball officials with hopes of getting one of their own hired as this new administrator. Then they could order the testing of every player before every game – resulting in huge expenses coming out of baseball’s pocket and this company lining its pockets with the disgrace of our nation’s number one pastime.

Now maybe I am taking this too far with notions of corruption but, what the hell. The path to corruption seems easy under the current presidential administration, it could happen just as easily in baseball. This is not to say that I am not for this whole “independent” testing administrator, I just hope it is done the right way and that the tester is truly independent.

If this happens, I will commend those involved in the Mitchell Report for at least some progress. When I first heard about the investigation and the large number of players indicted in the report, I could only think of bad things – like players being prosecuted for things that MLB basically allowed for years. I also didn’t like the fact that the Mitchell Report didn’t go through the proper legal processes in naming players for things they may or may not have done. It seemed like players were burned at the stake without a fair trial. I always hate the notion of guilty until proven innocent, even though it makes up such a large part of our current society.

I don’t include Mr. Clemens in the above statement. He dug his own grave. He went public. He couldn’t keep his big mouth shut. A hundred other players were named in the report and they kept quiet. They didn’t go and rant on 60 Minutes. In his process of digging, Clemens has lied (we all know it) to a wide number of high-ranking officials and will go to jail for it. Clemens, you are an idiot.

To conclude this rant, I am glad to see that baseball and the players union are working toward a compromised solution to their problems and not persecuting those who have been named for wrong-doings in the past, when, under baseball’s rules, they weren’t actually doing anything wrong.

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