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Adam Dunn, David Wright have strong words for PED users

Feb 20, 2013, 11:33 AM EST

Chicago White Sox Photo Day Getty Images

People like to talk about how the players all protect their own when it comes to PEDs, but if that was ever the case it isn’t anymore. We’ve seen a few examples recently of players calling out their PED-using colleagues. Today there are two high profile examples. Adam Dunn and David Wright.

Dunn, while noting that people will always try to cheat, both in baseball and other walks of life, tells CSNChicago.com that taking PEDs is “stupid,” “selfish” and “scary.” He’s most upset, though, about the cloud it casts on everyone:

“What makes me mad is when you go back and look at your career, everyone is always going to lump all of us into the PED steroid era. That’s not fair. That’s not fair to guys like [Ken Griffey] Junior who did it the right way for a long, long time. I’m not saying he’ll get lumped into it, but he played in that era and that’s not fair to those guys who did it the right way and were very, very successful, and to have a few guys ruin it.”

He’s right. It’s not fair. And I think the reason it’s done is because the idea that there are some people who cheat and some people who don’t and that we can’t know who does and who doesn’t is somehow too complex for a lot of baseball writers to handle. Guys who are in the business of declaring this or that the best or worst thing ever can’t abide something with that level of dissonance or ambiguity, so they have to take that extra step and consider an entire generation tainted, when (a) there is absolutely nothing compelling them to do so; and (b) doing so is exceedingly unfair to those who did not and do not use.

As for Wright:

“If you cheat, I hope you get caught,” David Wright told the Daily News. “I don’t care if you’re with the same agency I’m with or not. If you’re a cheater, I hope you get caught, and I hope you get punished.”

I’m often called a PED apologist, but I don’t disagree at all with Wright. My issue comes when people talk smack about people who were not “caught” under any reasonable or reliable definition of that term, have not and maybe will not be punished and who are still nonetheless called cheaters.

We have a testing system. We either trust it or we don’t. I say we need to trust it or else it has no purpose.

  1. Old Gator - Feb 20, 2013 at 11:42 AM

    Craig, stop whining about conventional guilt and innocence and take the Gowachin bar exam already. It’ll clarify so many things for you, mired as you are in your memories of mundane Earthling jurisprudence.

    • manchestermiracle - Feb 20, 2013 at 1:12 PM

      OG, you refer to these Gowachin so often I had to go look it up.

      From Wikipedia:

      “Gowachin are a fictional race of frog-like humanoids featured in the Frank Herbert books Whipping Star and The Dosadi Experiment. Herbert developed the race from a brief mention by Jorj X. McKie in the short story The Tactful Saboteur.”

      I’ve read Herbert, but I must have missed those two.

      “The Gowachin regard their legal practices as the strongest evidence that they are civilized. Gowachin law is based upon the notion of a healthy disrespect for all laws; the purpose of this notion is to avoid the stultifying accretion of a body of laws and precedents that bind Gowachin mechanically.

      “In a Gowachin trial, everything is on trial: every participant, including the judges; every law; even the foundational precept of Gowachin law. Legal ideas from other systems are turned on their head: Someone pronounced ‘innocent’ (guilty in other terms) by the court is torn to pieces by angry spectators; judges may have bias (‘If I can decide for my side, I will’), though not prejudice (‘I will decide for my side, regardless’); defendant and plaintiff are chosen at trial by the side bringing the complaint choosing one role or the other; torture is permitted; and all procedural rules may be violated, but only by finding conflict within procedural rules”

      This may be only slightly more convoluted and time-consuming than the current state of affairs in the U.S. legal system, but it certainly resembles how many contentious conflicts are “resolved.,” particularly on the sports side.

      • Ben - Feb 20, 2013 at 1:21 PM

        It’s like the anti-Genealogy of Morals. Fascinating.

      • cur68 - Feb 20, 2013 at 3:40 PM

        Seems like Calvin-Ball to me.

    • stercuilus65 - Feb 20, 2013 at 7:23 PM

      That “Gowachin” line is still as witty, funny and fresh as it when it was posted 500 times ago…

  2. El Bravo - Feb 20, 2013 at 11:50 AM

    “We have a testing system. We either trust it or we don’t. I say we need to trust it or else it has no purpose.”

    How can we trust it? It has failed to find everyone who has cheated since it has been implemented. It’s appellate process was beaten with some shaky reasons last season. There are more reasons to not trust the current system than to trust it. That said, I think this is okay. The moment you believe it’s working is the moment players have found a way around it, and clearly, that’s already happening. We should never trust the system is catching everyone (i.e. completely working), but that certainly doesn’t diminish its purpose in my opinion.

    • Ben - Feb 20, 2013 at 11:59 AM

      It seems absolutely daft to say we either trust it or we don’t. There are very clear reasons not to trust any system, whether it’s Texas’s penchant for putting innocent people on death row, or Lance Armstrong beating/gaming the system for a decade. I think a wariness is always warranted.

      • El Bravo - Feb 20, 2013 at 12:02 PM

        True dat. It’s kinda like the war against terrorism. It shall never end, there will never be a claim of “we won”, and one must always remain vigilant. Also, does that make Craig a Daft Punk?

    • jeffa43 - Feb 20, 2013 at 12:11 PM

      El Bravo…. If it does not work its broke, and those like Braun know it and trying to capitalize on a broken system.

      • El Bravo - Feb 20, 2013 at 12:19 PM

        Well, I think Braun likely did beat the system last year (and again, no proof, but there’s mounting evidence). That chain of custody portion of the rules was broken for sure if that is what got him off while he actually cheated (and I believe he did cheat). MLB has since beefed up the chain of custody procedures, which means the MLB is going about this the correct way. Sometimes they’ll be a step ahead, and more often, they’ll be a step behind. This is not new. The IOC has been dealing with this for a long time. They retest every sample from two or three olympic games past once advanced tests become available and they find cheaters years after the fact. Baseball will follow this course, which is the only viable and realistic course. So yes, the system will always be imperfect, but it is not broken. That said, that means I don’t trust it, yet still see it’s purpose.

      • zacksdad - Feb 20, 2013 at 12:25 PM

        If the players that do not cheat and forced their own union to implement stronger testing for all players so that we could believe in the “testing system”, I would start to not lump all the players as cheats. You want the cheats out, then push for the strongest testing possible. Also by catching the real cheaters, it will allow the non-cheats to make more money. When cheats have a PED year and get new inflated contracts, it takes potential money from the non-cheats.

        So in conclusion, I believe most players are taking PEDs because there is not an outcry for stronger testing. Stronger testing helps players that do not take PEDs and only hurts the players that take them.

      • cur68 - Feb 20, 2013 at 1:14 PM

        El Bravo: your position on MLB testing is pretty close to mine. Its isn’t perfect and we need to own up to that and be cautious with results. All results, though. Both positive and negative. Not only that, we need to see a greater focus on what is a PED and what is not. Greater use of logic and evidence rather than emotion and fad for testing guidelines would really be helpful here.

        Anyone that wants “better testing” though? Please, list what you think is “better testing”. The IOC standards and tests are the state of the art. That’s what MLB uses with a few variations. International Cycling is the same way. In all cases there are cheaters caught and cheaters uncaught. The nature of this beast is that cheating is easy if you have the means and testing is beatable if you have some knowledge. Demanding “better tests” is demanding that science speeds up in an area where there are no life threatening “greater good” outcomes.

        Its sports and sporting outcomes. No lives hang in the balance.

        In the meantime, athletes will return positive tests, they will engage in the process, and they may be cleared or they may not. Absent all the facts and expertise, we have to put a certain amount of faith in the process. There really isn’t anything better we could do beyond engaging in which hunts.

      • manchestermiracle - Feb 20, 2013 at 1:16 PM

        zacksdad:

        Perhaps there are many players pushing for more stringent testing, but they may very well be in the minority. When the candidate you voted for doesn’t win does that mean you then consider yourself a supporter of the candidate who did? Not using PEDs, but also not seeing stricter testing, doesn’t mean you should be lumped in with the cheaters.

      • zacksdad - Feb 20, 2013 at 2:20 PM

        @manchestermiracle:

        That is part of my point. If the “majority” of the players wanted more stringent testing, then they should be able to get it. So since they fight for less testing and seem accept status quo, it leads me to believe the “majority” of players are cheating.

        If the non-cheaters were smart, they would push for better testing. They make more money for their real abilities and can compete at a level playing field. If they have to bat against the PED pitchers, their batting numbers go down. Also their batting numbers look worse against the batting numbers of the PED batters.

        So until there is outcry by players that allow for better testing, I will still believe the majority are cheaters. I am an Angel fan, but more likely than not that Mike Trout uses some form of PEDs.

    • kirkvanhouten - Feb 20, 2013 at 12:19 PM

      “How can we trust it? It has failed to find everyone who has cheated since it has been implemented.”

      Nothing, ever, in any way shape or form will catch everyone who cheated.

      I think we can all pretty much agree that steroid use is way down in MLB, and with the implementation of HGH testing, that will probably go down to. With these results, we should absolutely trust the system because it seems to have been pretty effective in vastly reducing the number of players who use steroids in the game.

      • El Bravo - Feb 20, 2013 at 12:23 PM

        I certainly agree with that, but that gives me no reason to put full trust into it. How can you trust a system that can’t ever be proven to fish out every single attempted cheater? If it isn’t at 100%, to me, that isn’t “trustworthy”, is all I’m saying. I do agree that it is certainly working to large extent and def beats the previous decades of no testing. I love where the MLB is going on this front, but we shouldn’t be so ready to bless it as infallible.

      • kirkvanhouten - Feb 20, 2013 at 12:27 PM

        “How can you trust a system that can’t ever be proven to fish out every single attempted cheater? If it isn’t at 100%, to me, that isn’t “trustworthy”, is all I’m saying.”

        I think in this case, the problem is less with the testing system and more with completely unrealistic expectations.

      • manchestermiracle - Feb 20, 2013 at 1:17 PM

        EB:

        The cops don’t catch every speeder, in fact they don’t catch a majority. So we should just stop enforcing the speed limits, right?

      • El Bravo - Feb 20, 2013 at 1:30 PM

        manchestermiracle:

        Read my commentary again. Where do I say remove testing completely from the MLB? Do you work for FoxNews?

  3. Rich Stowe - Feb 20, 2013 at 11:52 AM

    it’s all well and good for the players to “speak out” about PEDs…they (the players) were still the ones behind the guise of the MLBPA that prevented testing for over a decade.

    Players like Wright and Dunn are like Schilling – they’ll talk big now, but when called to actually speak and to do something about it, they clam up.

    Frank Thomas wanted to do something about PED use while he was playing but was never able to.

    So, it’s good for Wright and Dunn to talk big, let’s see if they push for legitimate improvements in the game (1 season ban first positive test instead of 50 games, higher fines, punishment etc)…big talk means nothing if you don’t do anything to make it happen

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Feb 20, 2013 at 11:57 AM

      Frank Thomas wanted to do something about PED use while he was playing but was never able to.

      The only person who stopped Frank Thomas from taking a drug test was Frank Thomas. So he’s really no different than everyone else, he just might have gone half a step farther.

    • bsbiz - Feb 20, 2013 at 12:05 PM

      “they (the players) were still the ones behind the guise of the MLBPA that prevented testing for over a decade.”

      All the while completely absolving the owners who did soooooooooooo much to stem the horde of roided up ballplayers from filling their stadia for that decade.

      • Rich Stowe - Feb 20, 2013 at 12:16 PM

        The owners are too blame as well….however, when the owners did try to do something about it, the MLBPA said no.

        it took MLB going in front of congress and being threatened to loss their anti-trust exemption (which would affect the players too) that the players finally agreed to do something (mainly because Selig was starting to look like a good guy by asking for testing with next to nothing for punishment and the players were still saying no). Once the players realized they were losing the PR battle, they gave in.

      • bsbiz - Feb 20, 2013 at 12:20 PM

        But as you pointed out, it wasn’t the owners themselves who said, “You know what? Some of this looks suspicious. We should talk to MLBPA and see if we can do something about this.” It took a threat by Congress to the owners’ Precious to start the PR war (which the players lost). There is no moral high ground in this. Absolutely none.

    • epi44 - Feb 20, 2013 at 1:12 PM

      I don’t really see how their comments have all that much relevance in terms of what went on pre-testing or what the new “punishments” should be.

      Wright came into the league after testing was already put into place, Dunn was just in the league a couple years at that time, so I don’t really see them as guys who should have done something about the lack of testing years ago. Besides, you can be against PEDs, be mad about players being falsely accused, hope users get caught, etc. and still think the current punishments themselves are ok. And really short of maybe kicking guys out of the game after one positive test (which is extreme) there are always going to be people arguing punishments should be more severe.

  4. mckcal - Feb 20, 2013 at 11:52 AM

    Agency? Does Wright identify more with his management than the Mets? Or is there some context that’s missing because we don’t what question or comment he’s responding to?

    • scottp9 - Feb 20, 2013 at 12:27 PM

      From that I assumed he was with ACES, that agency that reps a number of players involved in PED scandals and was investigated in the wake of the Melky Cabrera fake-website scam.

      • Kevin S. - Feb 20, 2013 at 2:25 PM

        Indeed he is, according to Cot’s: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/compensation/cots/national-league/new-york-mets/

  5. echech88 - Feb 20, 2013 at 11:54 AM

    The problem with this is that we have people guilty without any proof.

    2 days ago Gio was a huge cheat because his name was on a piece of paper. Now we’re supposed to believe his name means nothing on that paper but everyone else’s does.

    So how long until we start hearing that other guys on a piece of paper are actually not guilty? You either need PROOF or all of this other stuff is useless and a waste of time.

  6. manute - Feb 20, 2013 at 11:55 AM

    Wow, David! EVEN IF THEY’RE WITH THE SAME AGENCY AS YOU?!!

  7. DelawarePhilliesFan - Feb 20, 2013 at 11:57 AM

    “We have a testing system. We either trust it or we don’t. I say we need to trust it or else it has no purpose.”

    Then trust it when it says someone clearly failed, and stop whining about FedEx delivery schedules. And stop calling those of us who DO trust the testing system that we “don’t care about standards”

    Part B is your real crime, for the record

    • zacksdad - Feb 20, 2013 at 2:35 PM

      I am so tired of hearing that I never failed a test. But then when they fail a test, the test was bad. Lance Armstrong was able to cheat all these years against one of the strongest testing bodies.

      You want to stop lumping the non-cheaters with the cheaters, then fight to have more punishment and more testing.

      Here is Braun trying to use the media to clear his name, but then he chickened out on doing the DNA testing.

      “Sources also told Munson that there was doubt over whose urine was actually being tested. Braun offered to take a DNA test to confirm whose urine was in the sample, but Major League Baseball declined. However, an MLB source told ESPN’s Mike Golic that Braun’s side backed off of the offer to take a DNA test.”

  8. scottgilroy - Feb 20, 2013 at 12:12 PM

    David Wright was referring the the Levinson brothers who represent him and a number of players in the Biogenisis case. The testing system will always be a battle since their is more money for those in the buisness of making the newer harder to detect PEDs,than in the testing program.

  9. TIF - Feb 20, 2013 at 12:18 PM

    Craig, really good points here. I think it is a cop out for writers to simply lump a generation together and say they are all cheaters or consider all players guilty until proven innocent. That being said, I don’t know if the standard for determining that a player used PEDs must be that he was “caught” under the MLB testing system. Players like Alex Rodriguez and Mark McGwire, who admitted to using PEDs but could not be punished under the MLB drug testing program, were still “caught.” The problem I have is the writers’ treatment of players like Bagwell and Piazza, where there is no evidence linking them to PEDs other than writers’ speculations and assumptions without a basis in fact. Bagwell being “big” and Piazza being an overachieving 62nd round pick should not be enough to label them as PED users.

  10. kjericho43 - Feb 20, 2013 at 12:20 PM

    I don’t see how some of these dudes who know they are clean can play on the same field with guys who they know AREN’T. Especially the self righteous guys like the above mentioned.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Feb 20, 2013 at 12:52 PM

      Because players have been using performance enhancing substances for the last 40-50 years in baseball…

      • kjericho43 - Feb 20, 2013 at 1:08 PM

        True. And through the way back machine till now, there were guys who weren’t using anything, but knew there were others using on the field with them.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Feb 20, 2013 at 2:27 PM

        So I don’t understand your point. Guys in the 60s and 70s were openly using PEDs compared to players hiding them now. So why all of the outrage all of a sudden?

    • manchestermiracle - Feb 20, 2013 at 1:22 PM

      So what’s the solution? Not play, no big-league pay, throw away your dreams? Or maybe just take them out with a sniper rifle? I must disagree that cutting off your nose to spite your face is in any way a sane course of action.

  11. TheLooch - Feb 20, 2013 at 1:34 PM

    the problem is not everyone is built like that big badass Adam Dunn that can just crush homeruns without even really trying ;-)

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