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FENNO: Tough talk in Ryan Braun case meaningless without impactful penalties
Question of the Day
Mission accomplished? Not close.
The World Anti-Doping Agency hands out two-year penalties for the first offense. By 2015, the group hopes to up the standard penalty to four years. That would render a suspended athlete ineligible for an Olympics. That’s a no-joke disincentive.
If the outrage in baseball clubhouses is real and not another gust of hot July air, the players and their union can lead the change. After all, they’re the ones forced to play under the cloud of suspicion of PED use each time someone like Braun is suspended. That’s not fair and they know it.
First offense? A year’s suspension. Second offense? Booted from the game. Not stiff enough? Void contracts of fingered players. Remove years of service time. Make the penalty an actual penalty, not a glorified vacation.
Baseball holds up Braun as proof the current system worked. If that’s true, why is Braun at the vanguard of around two dozen major leaguers who could be punished for their links to Biogenesis? On one hand, Selig touts the 5,000-plus drug tests in 2012 with only eight major league violations as evidence of the game’s tidiness. Then there’s the entire roster’s worth of players who managed to evade that testing program.
If not for MLB’s frivolous (and effective) lawsuit against Bosch and his associates, Braun would still be on the field. The legal action did what the testing program couldn’t and forced Bosch to cooperate with baseball’s investigation instead of battle wallet-draining litigation. That’s just a short-term fix to a larger issue.
Braun’s suspension can create a monumental shift. That’ll have to come from the ones talking the loudest — the players — if ridding the baseball of PEDs is truly a priority. Words are easy. Action isn’t.
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About the Author
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