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Biogenesis : Hypocrisy or Lack of Institutional Control?

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It has been just over a week now since the news broke that as many as 20 major league baseball players—possibly more were going to be named as clients of the now defunct Biogenesis Anti-Aging Clinic in Miami, Florida.

On that list are well-known players such as former league MVP’s in Ryan Braun and Alex Rodriguez, along with many other high-profile players whose teams cannot afford to lose their services any time soon.

The founder and proprietor of that clinic, Tony Bosch, has agreed to speak with Major League Baseball officials and will name names, providing documentation of transactions between players and the clinic, with the intention of saving his own skin.

MLB Commissioner Bug Selig wants to use this opportunity to clean out, once and for all, many of the players that have sidestepped the suspensions and punishments that he believes are just. Reports from several news outlets have spoken of bans and suspensions between 50 games and a full season depending on the player and the offense.

The goal is to flush out the cheaters, punish them severely, and to create an atmosphere of zero tolerance for performance enhancing drug use, one that has plagued the game for the last quarter century.

While Major League Baseball continues their assault on established stars who might have used banned substances, the 2013 First Year Player Draft took place inside the MLB Network Studios this past week.

With the third overall selection in that draft, the Colorado Rockies selected University of Oklahoma pitcher Jonathan Gray.

What’s the connection?

Gray failed an MLB required drug test just days before the draft, for a substance called Adderall. While it is not a performance enhancing substance per se, Adderall is an amphetamine, a Schedule 2 controlled substance, and has been linked to methanphetamine use.

Major League Baseball is sending mixed messages to fans, young players, and to teams. It’s not okay to use performance enhancing drugs, and if players are found to be using them, they can be suspended anywhere between 50 games and a lifetime ban, but players who use narcotics can be drafted, rewarded handsomely financially, and skate right on by any type of punishment or suspension by the league.

It is understood that most players who are drafted, have to abide by Minor League Baseball’s drug program, as players are not members of the MLBPA until they serve a specific amount of time at the big league level, but isn’t it convenient that teams are allowed to draft these players, knowing that drug use is clear, without penalties to either player or team?

Until Major League Baseball decides that they aren’t going to exercise selective enforcement of their own drug policies, players are always going to believe they can beat the system.

Why should players who are substance abusers try to change when they know that coming out of high school or college, that they won’t be held to the same stringent standards as the players they are aspiring to be?

Once again, Major League Baseball is the greatest of all hypocrites, deciding the fate of established stars while allowing the “kids” to do as they wish, while the teams that draft them turn a blind eye to this type of activity.

Major League Baseball announced after the positive test for Gray, that he would not be punished, but would be subjected to random follow-up testing to ensure he remains clean.

A slap on the hand isn’t going to save a young man’s life, but perhaps mandatory drug treatment for a first time offense, along with the forfeiture of a signing bonus, a month’s worth of pay, and for the Rockies, the forfeiture of future draft picks would send a clear signal that drug use of any kind—performance enhancing or other, will not be tolerated from young men aspiring to earn the right to be called Major League Baseball players.

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Robert D. Cobb
Founder, Publisher and CEO of INSCMagazine. Works have appeared and featured in places such as Forbes, Huffington Post, ESPN and NBC Sports to name a few. Follow me on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC, email me at [email protected]

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