Sports Law Blog
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Tuesday, November 15, 2005
New MLB Steroids Policy: Fleeting Victory?
Under pressure from Congress, Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players' Association have agreed in principle to a new steroids testing policy: players will be suspended for 50 games after one positive test, 100 games for a second offense, and banned for life if they test positive a third time, with the player having the right to apply for reinstatement after two years and an arbitrator being able to review the reinstatement decision.
The agreement also covers amphetamines, which had previously not been covered by MLB testing. As a matter of background, use of amphetamines often procures such effects as wakefulness, alertness, a decreased sense of fatigue, mood elevation, increased self confidence, and a decreased appetite. Popular amphetamines include dextroamphetamine, benzedrine, and Ritalin. Under this new policy, players will be assessed a mandatory additional test after one positive test, a 25-game suspension after two positive tests, an 80-game suspension after three positive tests, and the Commissioner's discretion to impose whatever penalty he deems fit after four positive tests (with an arbitrator being able to review).
Testing for both steroids and amphetamines appears legitimate. A player will be tested during spring training physicals and at least once during the regular season, with additional random testing. Previously, each player was tested once from the start of spring training through the end of the regular season, with additional random testing.
In this year of 2005--the Year of Extraordinary Governmental Incompetence--perhaps we can take solace from this news: our elected officials have actually done something right. Threats by Senators John McCain and Jim Bunning appear to have worked. Along those lines, this new policy appears to provide remarkable deterrence to would-be users of steroids.
Of course, the real problem will occur when the "next generation" performance-enhancing drug is invented and this agreement doesn't cover it. For that reason (and putting my Martha Stewart hat on), don't be surprised if the stock market reacts to this news by seeing a surge in prices for inventors/developers of performance-enhancing substances. In other words, the race has officially begun for which company can develop the best new drug to evade this new policy.
Note: Picture above is from the Home Run Guys -- an online store dedicated to the steroids scandal -- you might want to take a look at their website, as they have some rather ingenious and amusing products.
Related Coverage: Congress Ready to Crackdown on Steroids? (9/28/2005)