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MLB and MLBPA could soon agree to alter the penalties for performance-enhancing drug users

Mar 25, 2014, 8:25 PM EDT

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According to Ronald Blum of the Associated Press, Major League Baseball execs and the Major League Baseball Players Association are working toward an agreement that would increase the initial suspension length for intentional performance-enhancing drug users and decrease the initial penalty for those found to have used PEDs unintentionally.

There would also a significant increase on the suspension length for second-time performance-enhancing drug offenders. Blum says the two sides “hope to reach an agreement by Sunday,” before the Dodgers play the Padres on Opening Night in San Diego. More from Blum’s report on the Associated Press website:

While the lengths have not been finalized, the sides are discussing a 100-game ban for an initial violation and a season-long ban for a second, one of the people said.

“It will be a significant deterrent because players will know they’re not going to just easily walk back into a lineup,”

Travis Tygart, chief executive officer of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, said in a telephone interview Tuesday. “It probably is the best policy in professional sports.”

For inadvertent use, the penalty for a first violation would be cut in half to 25 games.

“What we’re all here for it to rid sports of the intentional cheats, those who are intending to defraud both the fans and their fellow teammates, the integrity of competition,” Tygart said. “You want to have provisions in place that allow for whether there’s an inadvertent or a truly non-intentional situation which may arise.”

Under MLB’s current drug prevention program, all first-time offenders are given 50-game suspensions.

A ton of players came out in favor of harsher PED penalties last summer after the Biogenesis scandal broke, and now it appears that they’re willing to put it into writing. While simply tearing up the old agreement.


UPDATE, 9:28 p.m. ET: More on this from Joel Sherman of the New York Post

  1. holleywood9 - Mar 25, 2014 at 8:53 PM

    Hasn’t everyone who used in the past done it unknowingly or unintentionally?!?

  2. renaado - Mar 25, 2014 at 8:53 PM

    Can they just ban players who are on Star Player status for approximately the whole season, Minor league players on probably 25-50 days, And average players on the Active roster same with the days amount the Milb players have?

  3. zackd2 - Mar 25, 2014 at 8:54 PM

    “Under MLB’s current drug prevention program, all first-time offenders are given 50-game suspensions.”

    Unless you’re ARod of course

    • renaado - Mar 25, 2014 at 9:19 PM

      I really hope the Media won dub it as the “A-Rod way” or the “A-Rod rule”. I’m keepin my finger crossed on that.

  4. tfbuckfutter - Mar 25, 2014 at 8:56 PM

    “So….you might say I’m a pioneer….or, maybe even….a HERO?”

    -Alex Rodriguez

  5. paperlions - Mar 25, 2014 at 9:19 PM

    These suggestions make way too much sense for me to think that MLB and the MLBPA are considering them.

  6. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Mar 25, 2014 at 9:47 PM

    Are they considering a change in the penalty for “making the commissioner look like a fool,” or will that remain somewhere between 65 and 211 games, depending on the player’s level of unpopularity?

    • ptfu - Mar 26, 2014 at 12:54 AM

      So the commish has to suspend himself then.

      • dcarroll73 - Mar 26, 2014 at 8:48 AM

        Actually he would have to suspend God for making him a fool, and not even Kenisaw Moutain Landis was that bold (pretty close though.)

  7. scatterbrian - Mar 25, 2014 at 9:55 PM

    Why are round numbers necessary? Why not just first offense = 81 games, second offense = 162 games?

  8. Old Gator - Mar 25, 2014 at 10:00 PM

    Just out of curiosity, what the hell is even the point of punishing someone for unintentional use? Yes, yes, it’s probably supposed to be a deterrent to using intentionally and looking unintentional. And yet the wording is, “if someone is found to have used it unintentionally.

    Well if you’ve held a hearing or investigation and determined that it was an accident, isn’t the punishment kind of petty (to use a polite term for it)?

    • Kevin Gillman - Mar 25, 2014 at 10:09 PM

      I am guessing it’s because anyone and everyone will use the excuse that it was “unintentional”, this way you still get punished, but maybe by say, 10-15 games?

    • DJ MC - Mar 25, 2014 at 10:56 PM

      It’s also a deterrent against being an idiot about what you are putting in your body.

      If you know that even an inadvertent use carries a significant penalty, in theory you will be more likely to pay attention to ingredient lists and check with the appropriate sources of information.

      • dcarroll73 - Mar 26, 2014 at 8:52 AM

        These inadvertent use cases point out the difference between enough to test positive and enough to have ANY effect on performance, but I realize that subtlety is beyond most Americans (or it will be until they get fired for that joint they smoked on the first day of their vacation over a week ago.)

    • Old Gator - Mar 26, 2014 at 11:54 AM

      DJ: there is no deterrent to idiocy except voluntary sterilization – at least, not in this legal environment.

      dcarroll: agreed for the most part but you either find someone innocent or you don’t. Imposing punishment anyway once you have determined non-intentionality still strikes me as petty, and the sign not even so much of lack of subtlety as mindless reflex and a lack of fundamental sense of fairness.

  9. kevinbnyc - Mar 25, 2014 at 11:12 PM

    Is it just me, or does “Ronald Blum” sound an awful lot like an alias Ryan Braun would use to buy steroids?

    • Old Gator - Mar 26, 2014 at 11:56 AM

      Or perhaps the given name behind the stage name of a famous cholesterol clown.

  10. davidkepesh - Mar 26, 2014 at 1:28 PM

    This blog link I found over at nomaas yesterday is a good reason why the MLBPA is insane to give the Commissioner any more power under the JDA than he already has.

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