Wednesday, May 18, 2005Commissioners to Congress: BACK OFF
This comes only a few days after MLB Commish Bud Selig said he will SUPPORT Congress in policing drug use in his league if the MLBPA doesn't back his stronger stance on steroids. I wish he'd make up his mind.
The Capitol Hill hearing was held as part of the continuing debate about athletes' use of performance-enhancing substances, particularly steroids. The issue of steroids in sports drew intensified Congressional interest after the former major leaguer Jose Canseco wrote a book asserting that several former teammates, including some of baseball's biggest stars, had used steroids to enhance their skills and performance.
A House committee held hearings in March, and Representative Cliff Stearns, Republican of Florida, later introduced legislation, the Drug Free Sports Act, that would require all professional sports in the United States to adopt steroid-testing rules similar to those that govern Olympic sports and many other international sports federations, like the World Anti-Doping Agency.
But Mr. Selig and others who testified before the subcommittee today expressed concern about such a group taking charge of drug policy for their sports. The World Anti-Doping Agency has much harsher punishments for those caught cheating, including two-year bans for athletes caught cheating and expulsion for a second offense.
Well it looks like the pressure has finally forced some groups to cave in. Already the NBA and NFL are well on their way to stiffer drug penalties while the NHL and MLS takes theirs on a case-by-case basis.
For the lesser leagues (the NHL especially) that's not going to fly for long. I personally think drug-use is as bad in hockey as it is in baseball. As for soccer, I'm just tired of all the flopping.
Sports Chiefs Tell House to Let Them Police Drugs [NYT]
Congress Seeks Tougher Sanctions Against Steroids [LA Times]