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Before you call for stiffer drug penalties please think about what just happened

Jul 23, 2013, 8:53 AM EDT

MLB Commissioner Bud Selig speaks during a news conference in New York Reuters

Within 12 hours of Ryan Braundescribed by one national columnist as a “cockroach” — getting unprecedented discipline and going down without even bothering to fight, the calls have already started for baseball to get even tougher. Just this morning I have seen multiple calls for automatic lifetime bans, contract-voiding provisions and all manner of draconian proposals. These calls are couched in the assumption that Ryan Braun somehow got off easy and that, because of that, Major League Baseball is still somehow not doing enough to stop PEDs.

This is nothing short of madness. It’s auto-piloted rage, flown in from 2006, and offered with all spleen and no thought.

Ken Rosenthal lays all of this bare in his excellent column this morning, which I implore you to read.  The short version: Baseball, in the space of a few short months, investigated and suspended a major star with the largest-ever penalty for first-time discipline. It did so without a test. It did so in such a way that union publicly implored the player not to fight and the player, in fact, did not fight.  It did so with the vocal approval of many current players who, just a few short years ago, would have said nothing and probably would have supported their union’s efforts to fight to the death.

We have experienced a complete paradigm shift with respect to performance enhancing drugs in baseball. One in which there is no truly acceptable defense to cheating and which the league is empowered by all stakeholders to root it out.

Yet, in light of that, people think the system is a joke. That the penalties need to be increased. That baseball isn’t doing enough? Jesus, people, do you see what baseball just did?

  1. frank35sox - Jul 23, 2013 at 1:34 PM

    This thought process is flawed. Punishments are supposed to be deterrents. If a large conglomerate of players are still using PEDs, obviously the deterrent is not strong enough. The punishment won’t fit the “crime” until it deters people from committing it.

    Plain and simple, it’s cheating. There are plenty of professions where one misstep could potentially end your career in that profession. I don’t see why professional athletes should be any different.

  2. eddit13 - Jul 23, 2013 at 5:43 PM

    Craig, consider the message you’re sending little leaguers and kids in high school when you choose to coddle the cheats in the MLB. The penalty should be severe enough so a megastar like A-Rod would never, ever consider walking into a Biogensis clinic. Same goes for Braun and every other cheat in the league. Enough is enough.

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