by Ryne Sandberg, Yahoo! Sports
March 17, 2005
I have a question for Congress: Why don't you give Major League Baseball's new steroid testing policy a chance?
Commissioner Bud Selig and the players association have installed a drug abuse plan that has worked so far, already lowering the number of players using steroids to less than 1 percent. That's why I think Congress acted a bit prematurely by calling for tougher steroid testing and not giving the new system a run.
Besides, there are other issues Congress should be dealing with right now, not this old stuff. The problem has been detected and baseball has a policy in place. So let's see if it works.
Thursday's hearings on Capitol Hill were nothing more than a PR power move on the part of Congress. I think everybody knows, and Major League Baseball agrees, that steroid use is a problem and that drugs don't belong in any sport. That's why MLB has a new policy.
If players do test positive, their names are out there in public. Fines are involved. The policy will work if we give it a chance.
Jose Canseco asked Congress to get involved to police baseball's steroid testing. But under the new policy, if baseball is honest with its testing – and I don't see why it wouldn't be – I'm confident it will work.
Random tests will be conducted for every player, and those who test positive will receive a 10-game suspension. That's headline material. That player's career is practically over right there. Once someone's name is out in public as a steroid user, I don't think another team will want to touch him. And that's only for the first offense. I think that kind of policing, as long as random tests are done properly, will work.
I don't know any player under the new policy who would want to have his name publicized. That's significant, let alone the 10 games without pay.
The most important thing right now is to get information to young kids – increasing their awareness of the dangers of steroids. There are also baseball players in high school, college and the minor leagues whose dream is to make it to the majors. These are the guys who should have some type of program or policy in place, because they almost have more incentive to try steroids.
That's what we need to be focusing on now. That and letting the current policy work.
Then, a year from now, we can look at the numbers and see if it's working.
Play Ball! Sign up for Yahoo! Sports Fantasy Baseball today.
Updated on Friday, Mar 18, 2005 1:50 am, EST
Email to a Friend | View Popular