Well, it happened again.
This time it was San Diego Padres catcher Yasmani Grandal who tested positive for performance enhancing drugs, and again it was the preferred PED of the 2010s – testosterone.
As per the current MLB drug policy, Grandal will receive the customary 50-game suspension beginning on Opening Day 2013. Grandal also used the customary cookie-cutter scripted statement for his actions, a statement that was undoubtedly drafted by Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) attorneys:
“I apologize to the fans, my teammates, and to the San Diego Padres. I was disappointed to learn of my positive test and under the Joint Drug Program I am responsible for what I put into my body. I must accept responsibility for my actions and serve my suspension.”
Heck, take out the ‘San Diego Padres’ part and you’ve pretty much got the exact same statement used by Melky Cabrera and Bartolo Colon. I mean, can’t you just feel Grandal’s sincere sympathy?
I call BS!
Let’s face reality here – the current MLB drug policy is not deterring guys from using PEDs – period. Guys are still willing to risk a 50-game suspension for a shot at a multi-million dollar contract, and that’s the cold, hard fact.
No matter how much or how hard MLB commissioner Bud Selig pounds on his chest claiming that the steroid era is over, the absolute undisputed truth is that it is not; and it never will be until these cheaters are given punishments that actually deter them from even considering using PEDs – penalties such as a one-year ban for the first offense and a lifetime ban for the second offense AND immediate termination of their contracts, regardless of who it is or how big it is. That’s it. This is what it will take to bring an end to the steroid era, which Bud Selig falsely believes has already happened.
Sure, random testing under the current policy is working; in fact it is working better now than ever before because guys are actually getting caught – something that never used to happen. But the glowing problem is that until the Major League Baseball Players Association quits pussyfooting around and actually takes a true stand against PED use, the steroid era will never end. This one is not on MLB, or Bud Selig, or the owners, or anyone else. This one lies squarely in the lap of the MLBPA.
It’s time for the Major League Baseball Players Association to do the right thing and bring a real end to the steroid era. Instead of protecting the privacy and rights of these cheaters, how about protecting you own rights and protecting the integrity of the game… your game.
* * * * * * * *
Some PED facts:
- 1991 – Baseball commissioner Fay Vincent declares steroids are illegal in baseball, although no specific substances were named and no further action is taken.
- 2002 – MLB and the MLBPA established that a first-time PED offense would result in treatment for the player and the player would not be named.
- 2004 – A random and acknowledged confidential test was given to an undisclosed number of MLB player, 104 of whom tested positive for PEDs . Somehow the names of three players were leaked to the media – Alex Rodriguez, David Ortiz, and Manny Ramirez. No discipline was imposed on these three and the 101 other names remained confidential.
- April 2005 – MLB and the MLBPA agreed that a first positive test would result in a 10-game suspension, a second positive test 30 games, a the third positive test 60 games, a fourth positive test a one-year suspension, and a fifth positive test would result in a penalty at the commissioner’s discretion. All players were to be tested at least once per year.
- November 2005 - MLB and the MLBPA agreed that a first positive test would result in a 50-game suspension, a second positive test 100 games, and a third positive test a lifetime suspension from MLB. This agreement brought MLB closer in line with international doping rules, as well as with the NFL. - MLB’s current drug policy
- March 29, 2006 - MLB commissioner Bud Selig launched an investigation into the alleged steroid use by Barry Bonds and Gary Sheffield based on heavy pressure and criticism from the book Game of Shadows. The investigation was conducted by former Senator and Disney chairman George J. Mitchell to look into past steroid use in the MLB. It was a fact-finding only investigation and the results could not be used for any disciplinary action whatsoever.
- June 6, 2006 – Separate of the Mitchell investigation, Arizona Diamondbacks reliever Jason Grimsley’s home was searched by federal agents. Grimsley later admitted to using human growth hormone, steroids, and amphetamines. According to court documents, Grimsley had failed a baseball drug test in 2003 and he allegedly named other current and former players who also used drugs. On June 7, 2006 Grimsley was released by the Diamondbacks, reportedly at his own request.
- December 13, 2007 – The 409-page Mitchell Report was made public. In the report, more than 80 former (and a few current) MLB players were implicated as having used PEDs and nearly every one of them refused to speak with Mitchell or his investigators. It is one of baseball’s darkest days.
- March 23, 2010 – Government witness Steven Hoskins testified in the perjury and obstruction of justice case against against Barry Bonds. Hoskins described how Bonds and his personal trainer Greg Anderson (who refused to testify) openly discuss taking the steroids. Although Hoskins testified that he never actually witnessed Bonds taking the drugs, he witnessed Anderson handling the needle and Bonds going into and coming out of a bedroom, and that Bonds complained that the shots left his butt sore. Bonds was convicted on one count of obstruction of justice, which he is appealing. “I went through the system and that’s what it is and that’s what I got,” said Bonds of his felony conviction. “I went through the system. I’m in an appeal process right now. I was never convicted of steroids.”
As comedian Ron White says “You can’t fix stupid.”