View Full Version : Sen. McCain: mandatory drug testing in baseball
12-04-2004, 07:09 PM
Sen. McCain threatens legislation to curb drugs in baseball
By Boston.com Staff | December 4, 2004
U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) said yesterday that he will introduce legislation for mandatory drug testing of athletes if major league baseball players and owners do not enact tougher standards themselves by January, according to a published report.
"Major league baseball players and owners should meet immediately to enact the standards that apply to the minor leagues, and if they don't, I will have to introduce legislation that says professional sports will have minimum standards for testing. ... I'll give them until January, and then I'll introduce legislation," McCain told the Washington Post.
Read the Post article
McCain's comments came after a report published in the San Francisco Chronicle that San Francisco Giants home-run king Barry Bonds admitted before a federal grand jury to using substances that prosecutors said were steroids. New York Yankees slugger Jason Giambi also admitted to using steroids in the grand jury testimony that was leaked this week to the news media.
Bonds said that he did not believe the products were steroids, according to the Chronicle. But he did admit to using a clear substance and a cream that was supplied to him by his trainer, Greg Anderson.
Anderson, and three others, were indicted in February for allegedly providing anabolic steroids, human growth hormone, erythropoietin and other drugs to baseball, football and track stars. Bonds was not among those indicted.
The fallout from the case spilled into the world of politics.
President Bush used his State of the Union address in January to call on professional sports "to get rid of steroids now." In April, the US Senate passed a resolution calling for "immediate action to adopt a drug-testing policy that effectively deters major league baseball players from using anabolic steroids and any other performance-enhancing substances."
McCain, the bill's chief sponsor and chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, said the policy was necessary "to restore legitimacy to professional baseball and make the welfare of the sport more important than the self-serving interests that have a chokehold on America's game."
As part of a collective-bargaining agreement (which expires in December 2006), players first submitted to anonymous tests in 2003. Major League Baseball found that 5-7 percent of major leaguers tested positive for steroids.
MLB didn't have penalties for steroid use until last year.
According to the Washington Post, the agreement included the following penalties: "Any player testing positive for the first time will be forced to undergo treatment. A second offense would result in a 15-day suspension without pay or a fine of up to $10,000. The penalties would increase to 25 days or a $25,000 fine for a third positive test, 50 days or $50,000 for a fourth and one year or $100,000 for a fifth."
However, the policy does not allow more than one unannounced drug test per season. It remains far from foolproof in the face of undetectable substances like those purportedly used by Giambi, Bonds, and Gary Sheffield. And it has no system for testing players during the offseason, when they could use steroids whose effects last longer than the drugs remain detectable.
Yesterday baseball commissioner Bud Selig vowed to "leave no stone unturned in accomplishing our goal of zero tolerance by the start of spring training."
But many players are wary of how much power they should cede to anti-doping policy makers. Johnny Damon, who is a close friend of the Giambi brothers and serves as the Red Sox' union representative, summarized the debate during the playoffs.
"The issue is twofold," Damon said. "On the one hand, you may not want a tougher policy because you don't know what's next. What are they going to test for next? But then again, we need to protect our players. Being a guy who has hardly even taken a protein shake, whatever it takes for us to live longer, healthier lives is what's most important."
link (http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/articles/2004/12/04/sen_mccain_threatens_legislation_to_curb_drugs_in_ baseball/)
Way to go McCain!
I bet at least half the baseball records made in the last 10 years were due to drug enhancement, not due to improved skills, better training, or better natural athletes. They should put an asterisk next to all of the "power" records (hr's, rbi's, ...) during this period.
And no wonder Barry was so moody.
12-05-2004, 06:28 PM
Where does the US Government have any authority to mandate what Professional Baseball does or doesn't require of it's players? This is so typical of a greater problem in Washington. They continue to overstep their bounds and impose their will on the private sector.
This is a problem for the Owners to deal with. If they can't clean up their own mess, let Major League Baseball suffer the consequences of their own failures. Whether or not Barry Bonds took drugs does not have any impact on the well being of the general population of this country. I think MLB can screw things up just fine on their own. They don't need congress to help them. Congress is doing a fine job of screwing up other things!
Well Steve I hope MLB does clean up on its own and Congress doesn't need to do anything. But it is the Players Union that is the most resistant, not the owners, even though it isn't in the players best interests.
And if they don't get drugs out of MLB, then I think Congress does have a right to step in. First its a health issue and second it is a fair employment issue. With no drug testing and therefore rampant use of steroids and stimulants, baseball players who are clean coming into the league have a choice: stay clean and lose out in salary and their career to doped up monsters, or give in and do what everyone else is, ruining their health in the process. Along the way the integrity of the longtime records in the game are made meaningless.
Another reason Congress has the right to correct blatant abuses in MLB is because MLB has been given monopoly rights through laws passed by Congress. It isn't like MLB is some free enterprise entity that has to answer to open competition.
And interestingly it is conservatives (and me!) who are making the biggest ruckus about Congress getting involved if MLB doesn't do it. George Will said today that there used to only be two eras in baseball - before and after the advent of the lively ball. But now there is a third: the era of chemically enhanced men that look like they should be in the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade!
12-06-2004, 04:36 AM
Steve, I have to agree. Congress should be involved in much more important issues. However, I believe, in this day and age, that all major league sports should have mandatory drug testing. They should be cleaning up their own houses.
Rich, the question isn't whether MLB should clean up their act. We all agree they should. The question is -- what if they don't? Do you think Congress should ignore the situation in that case? And if so, why should Congress give a monopoly like status to an organization that doesn't care about it's workers?
12-06-2004, 11:58 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Ross:</font><hr> Rich, the question isn't whether MLB should clean up their act. We all agree they should. The question is -- what if they don't? Do you think Congress should ignore the situation in that case? And if so, why should Congress give a monopoly like status to an organization that doesn't care about it's workers? <hr /></blockquote>
Ross, I'm not sure our elected officials should be involved in professional sports. However, the fact is, Congress and the law IS deeply involved and one more step probably wouldn't hurt.
Maybe Congress should give ALL major league sports a deadline, to clean up their houses. If they don't do something, Congress would have no choice but to pass some type of legislation.
I would hate to see it come to that, but, it probably will.
12-06-2004, 01:19 PM
McCain is also trying to form a national boxing
regulatory board. Good idea; it's a mess right now.
12-06-2004, 09:03 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Rich R.:</font><hr> However, the fact is, Congress and the law IS deeply involved and one more step probably wouldn't hurt.
Maybe Congress should give ALL major league sports a deadline, to clean up their houses. <hr /></blockquote>
One small step at a time is how the government has been quietly getting into areas it has no business being in. Every step they take in that direction cuts into our freedoms.
Maybe major league sports shouldn't be a monopoly. Why shouldn't there be competition for the sports fan dollars? Or maybe they should take it farther and start giving monopoly status to a few movie studios, or broadcasting companies, or newspapers, or...well there is no end to where it could go.
The point of my question is this...What specifically in the constitution of the United States would you consider to be the basis for their intervention into professional sports? (I'm still trying to figure out where the federal government gets authority over public education, but that's for another thread, so I will stick with the sports question for the moment.) Where do they get this kind of authority????????? And more importantly, why do we continue to allow them to take more and more power over such things???
Steve, IMO, total freedom from government intervention sounds good in theory. But in practice, well, not so good.
There are many countries with weak centralized governments that have few or no regulations on health, education, and public welfare. They are among the worst polluted, poorest, most strife ridden countries in the world. In fact the relationship is almost linear - the fewer government regulations that exist, the worse off the country.
Why is that? Because complete freedom means that you can do whatever you want without regard to others. In an ideal world everyone would balance their freedom with responsibility, but we don't live in that world.
Want no gov regs on business? Well then fine - factories can save money by dumping their waste into our rivers and our air. After all the Constitution doesn't say anything about regulating business, so why shouldn't they be allowed to do that? Car manufacturers could make defective seat belts and exploding gas tanks. Airlines could cut back on their inspection regimine like they do in less regulated countries (you know the ones where the planes crash regularly.)
How about no regs on worker safety. Constitution doesn't say anything about that. So employers can send their poor workers into unsafe mines, into asbestos laden buildings, work 10 year old children from dawn to dusk like in other non-regulated countries.
Lets get government out of education. If a school district wants to require all of its students to start the day with a Christian prayer, then why not? Who cares about the religious feelings of Jews, Hindus, or Muslims?
Well, the states will take care of it, right? The way the south wouldn't let blacks go to state universities until the Feds stepped in. Or sit in the front of the bus. Oh those were the good old days before Federal intervention.
The irony is that we often need Fed regs (or State regs) to ensure freedom for all. For example, a young man or woman should be free to pursue a career and earn a salary in sports without having to take health destroying drugs to be competitive. It is not a right specifically granted in the Constitution (nor prohibited in the Constitution) but it is still a good idea.
I do agree that OVER-regulation or stupid regulation is bad. You can get so many rules that no one can do anything. I also agree that the gov should get out of the business of regulating morality. But the libertarian idea that if the government would just butt out and let everyone do what they wanted doesn't fit with what you see around the world or with what we all know about the inherent selfishness and greed of human nature.
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do agree that OVER-regulation or stupid regulation is bad. <hr /></blockquote> Then you agree that passing legislation on MLB is stupid regulation. There are much more pressing matters going on which need to be dealt with.
12-07-2004, 05:13 AM
I agree with the examples you used to support your arguement. All of those issues have a direct impact on the public welfare. (dumping waste, etc)
My point is that government has continually crossed the line with more regulation than is necessary (or good), and I think this is a good example.
Why are major league sports a monopoly? It's not like a utility company where a huge percentage of the population NEEDS the service. If that monopoly didn't exist, other leagues could form, and the athletes would have a choice as to who their employer would be. Owners might even have to offer "drug free workplace" policies as an incentive to get the better "employees".
There certainly is a place for government regulations in this country. I just think we need to take a very hard look at EVERY attempt to increase it. If it isn't absolutely necessary, it shouldn't happen. Personally, I still don't think it's necessary for congress to move in this particular area.
12-07-2004, 06:19 AM
Report: MLB steroid testing agreement near
Selig told Colorado Governor collective bargaining deal close
Kevin Lamarque / Reuters
The Associated Press
Baseball players and owners have made progress toward toughening rules on steroid testing. How close they are to an agreement depends on which side you listen to.
Commissioner Bud Selig, who has called for more frequent testing and harsher penalties, told Colorado Gov. Bill Owens two weeks ago that an agreement was near, Owens said Monday.
Gene Orza, the union’s chief operating officer, said that while the discussions toward a new agreement had advanced, there was more work to be done.
“We’ve had a series of discussions with the clubs, and in many respects they’ve been fruitful,” he said Monday after the union opened its annual executive board meeting. “But to suggest we have a deal that either is going to be ratified by the executive board this week or is going to be put in place shortly is simply not right.”
Orza said discussions will continue, and a management official said owners hoped they would resume next week. Selig wants tougher rules in place by opening day.
“I won’t say we’re a long ways away,” Orza said of an agreement. “I don’t want to say it’s not possible. I just can’t guarantee it.”
Currently, players are tested once from the start of spring training through the end of the regular season. Selig wants additional tests, some in the offseason, and more substances added to the banned list.
Under the agreement in place, scheduled to run until December 2006, players do not face suspensions until their second positive test for steroids.
In the wake of reports that Barry Bonds, Jason Giambi and Gary Sheffield told a federal grand jury they used steroids, Sen. John McCain has threatened to propose federal legislation that would override the drug-testing provisions in baseball’s collective bargaining agreement.
Owens called Selig two weeks ago, telling him Colorado could enact its own steroid rules for players visiting Coors Field,
“As a big fan, I told him something needed to be done,” Owens said. “He said they were close to reaching an agreement.”
Owens hosts a monthly sports and highlights show on a regional network.
“It’s clear some of them don’t want this,” he said of players. “The union has been dragging its feet for reasons that are hard to understand.”
Selig had surgery Monday in New York to remove a cancerous lesion from his forehead and was not available for comment on Owens’ remarks. Rob Manfred, baseball’s executive vice president of labor relations, declined to comment on the talks.
“If we cannot resolve this issue privately, I gladly will accept whatever help is offered by Senator McCain to achieve our ultimate goal,” Selig said in a statement Monday.
“I appreciate the support of Senator McCain,” Selig said, adding that the “illegal use of these substances is damaging” baseball’s credibility.
“Perhaps, most damaging, it encourages our young fans to use these horrible substances,” Selig said. “While I would prefer to resolve this problem directly with the players’ association and jointly implement a much stronger drug-testing policy in major league baseball, one modeled after our program in the minor leagues, I understand the need for swift and resolute action.”
Reporters were barred from the lobby by Royal Palms Resort and Spa in Phoenix, preventing them from having access to most players at the meeting.
“We committed to them that we would provide a quiet, intimate location for their meeting, and that’s what we’ve committed to do,” Greg Miller, the hotel’s general manager, said.
Union spokesman Greg Bouris said the decision was made by the hotel.
“They’re just trying to respect the privacy of their guests, I would assume,” Bouris said.
After arriving at the hotel, Rich Aurilia declined to comment. Reached on his cell phone, even the usually talkative Curt Schilling refused to discuss steroids.
Baseball didn’t ban steroids until Sept. 30, 2002, and testing for steroids with penalties started only this year. Each player is tested once from the start of spring training through the end of the regular season, and a first positive test results in counseling. A player who tests positive a second time could be suspended for 15 days, and discipline rises to a one-year suspension for a fifth positive test.
Players with minor league contracts are not covered by collective bargaining. They are tested four times per year, in and out of season, and have a wider list of banned substances, including Human Growth Hormone and amphetamines. They are subject to a 15-game suspension for a first positive steroid test, a one-year penalty for a fourth positive test and a lifetime ban from the minors for a fifth positive test.
“The minor league program has been very effective at getting us to very low positive rates in the minor leagues,” Manfred said.
Chicago White Sox general manager Kenny Williams said possible steroid use had become a factor he weighed in evaluations of trades and signings.
“That’s part of the equation,” he said. “If you have not thought about it in recent years, you’ve had your head buried in the sand. That just kind of goes along right into the pot along with scouting reports, how he is in the clubhouse. The one thing about it is it’s kind of a floating variable. If you don’t have any proof, you’re really operating on pure conjecture.”
12-07-2004, 06:48 AM
AH, gator's back. So, what's this about you attacking a truck with a rent-a-car?
12-07-2004, 10:54 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote pooltchr:</font><hr> And more importantly, why do we continue to allow them to take more and more power over such things???<hr /></blockquote> /ccboard/images/graemlins/confused.gif What on earth could "we" do to disallow the United States government from doing anything they want?
12-07-2004, 11:37 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote SPetty:</font><hr> <blockquote><font class="small">Quote pooltchr:</font><hr> And more importantly, why do we continue to allow them to take more and more power over such things???<hr /></blockquote> /ccboard/images/graemlins/confused.gif What on earth could "we" do to disallow the United States government from doing anything they want? <hr /></blockquote>
we are the government, according to the Constitution anyway, if not completely in fact
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AH, gator's back. So, what's this about you attacking a truck with a rent-a-car? <hr /></blockquote> LOL, a little off topic, but I feel I was the one attacked. /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif What a humbling experience to drive around San Jose with my right front fender waving at all the traffic. The stupid thing would even whistle if I got over 30 mph. /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif
12-07-2004, 07:34 PM
Look at the topics on this board since the election. There were an awful lot of people interested in politics during the weeks leading up to the election, but now that it's over, I'm afraid the majority just settle in and wait for the next election. If people really cared, there would be constant discussions, and people getting involved. How many people on this board do you think have ever written to their congressperson to let their thoughts be known? I have on several occasions. I would bet that the greater majority don't even know who their congressperson is. We send people to Washington, and then don't hold them accountable. Until people start STAYING involved, we really can't do anything, and deserve what we get. But it's gotta start somewhere. Voting is only one small step. After we vote, we have to pay attention to what they do as our representatives, and let them know when we do or don't like it.
12-08-2004, 07:22 AM
True; I just feel a little beaten down. A person
convinced against their will is of the same opinion
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote pooltchr:</font><hr> Look at the topics on this board since the election. There were an awful lot of people interested in politics during the weeks leading up to the election, but now that it's over, I'm afraid the majority just settle in and wait for the next election. If people really cared, there would be constant discussions, and people getting involved. How many people on this board do you think have ever written to their congressperson to let their thoughts be known? I have on several occasions. I would bet that the greater majority don't even know who their congressperson is. We send people to Washington, and then don't hold them accountable. Until people start STAYING involved, we really can't do anything, and deserve what we get. But it's gotta start somewhere. Voting is only one small step. After we vote, we have to pay attention to what they do as our representatives, and let them know when we do or don't like it. <hr /></blockquote>
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