Despite being in the business of serving his clients, agent Scott Boras sometimes offers up ideas that might be beneficial for the general welfare of Major League Baseball. Take the Alex Rodriguez/Biogenesis case. In Boras' view, MLB went about it all wrong. Instead of penalizing ballplayers, Boras said, the league should have gone after the PED pushers. Instead of getting into bed with Tony Bosch, MLB should be blowing the whistle on him and those like him.
As Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports said, MLB reportedly has committed $1.8 million to Bosch's legal defense fund in return for his cooperation in taking down A-Rod. That's backward thinking, along with a wasted opportunity, Boras says:
"The integrity of the game is only partially served when a known pusher is exonerated, when the genesis of this entire problem is now given a forum and compensation and is not behind bars for the distribution and promoting the use of illegal drugs, not only to baseball players but all members of the sporting community and youth," Boras said.
Doing otherwise, Boras contends, creates an environment where the pushers feel free to distribute drugs because only the users are targeted.
MLB did try to sue Bosch — but only because it said he was interfering with its Biogenesis investigation. Later, MLB dropped the suit as part of its agreement with Bosch. Part of its rationalization: "We're not law enforcement." MLB is definitely into witness protection, though, another part of its agreement with Bosch.
OK, so MLB doesn't feel it can stop dealers from selling to players by prosecuting the pushers. But what about fostering an environment where pushers can sell drugs to kids?
MLB commissioner-in-waiting Rob Manfred's response: That's not our concern.
Well, it ought to be.
Even though Bosch's Biogenesis office was closed by authorities, the government has been otherwise disinterested in "going after him" — except, possibly, for one development: Bosch allegedly has sold PEDs to high school kids, ESPN has reported:
One former Biogenesis of America employee, Porter Fischer, told "Outside the Lines" he regularly saw 16- and 17-year-old boys come to the clinic, sometimes with their fathers.
Asked what high school athletes were given, Fischer said: "Sports performance packages, which would include HGH, testosterone."
"Outside the Lines" obtained Biogenesis documents in February, and they include the names of 10 Miami-area high school baseball players and dollar amounts next to their names.
One former Biogenesis employee, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said such packages for young athletes generally relied on HGH and Sermorelin, a drug that stimulates growth hormone release in the body. Packages usually included little or no testosterone because the drug is generally considered not to be useful for performance enhancement in young athletes with naturally high levels.
MLB has put itself in an awkward position: What, exactly, is its agreement with Bosch? Is MLB really going to pay for Bosch's legal defense if the government brings charges that he sold drugs to minors? Even if the money MLB has paid Bosch can't be used for that, the league unapologetically has been aiding an admitted drug dealer who has been accused of selling to children.
That would seem to be a difficult conversation for Bud Selig to have with Don Hooton, whose teenage son Taylor Hooton committed suicide in 2003 after experimenting with steroids. It was Don Hooton's testimony to Congress that helped pressure Selig to act on PED use in MLB.
Helping Tony Bosch, and ignoring others like him, seems counter to what the Taylor Hooton Foundation is about. It's one thing to ignore the PED dealers and prosecute the players because that's the limit of your authority. It's another to be an advocate for the dealer. Perhaps when the league is finished with its A-Rod victory lap, it will re-address this concern.
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