|Teams Must be Wary of Employees|
Written by Jonathan Leshanski (Contact & Archive) on August 10, 2009
You see baseball wants us to believe that there is a clean slate.Â That the game has been cleaned up and that things are honest.Â Or at least more honest than they were before, but itâ€™s hard to believe when baseball hasnâ€™t come clean about what really happened.Â The only way that can ever happen is if all the lists of positive tests are made public -- even the ones that were supposed to be confidential.
At this point the unionâ€™s objections to the publication of that list seem almost ludicrous.Â Itâ€™s been coming out in dribs and drabs, possibly with false information tainting players who donâ€™t deserve to be tainted, while painting many PED users into a corner when facing allegations that they cannot defend themselves from.Â Â
Both baseball and the players need to come to terms to what is best for the game.Â At this point it seems impossible that the list will not eventually become fully leaked and become public knowledge, so why not clear the air?Â Do what baseball did when it was trying to clean up the game back in the 1920s.
Back then it was warning players to stay away from gamblers and those who might try to buy or rig a game.Â Even the suspicion of being in cahoots with that kind of contact was dangerous to your career.Â Gambling and baseball were made into the big no-no.Â You couldnâ€™t bet on your team, on yourself or consort with known gamblers without risk of being made permanently ineligible.Â You could even be banned for being unwilling to cooperate with investigators, or coming forward with information about a fix if you were in the know.Â And one player, Benny Kauff of the NY Giants was banned for selling stolen cars, and thus deemed unfit as a companion for other ball players (despite being acquitted in court).
The game has changed a lot since then; the commissioner no longer speaks from the mountain when it comes to deciding who is ineligible and banned for life -- even that has to go through the collective bargaining process, but there is plenty the commissioner could still do.Â While he no longer has absolute say when it comes to the players he can certainly dictate policies that each organization must follow.Â Including a simple one, saying that no club shall retain any employee known to have been, or suspected of using, selling, or distributing performance enhancing drugs including steroids, and banning those who have been found guilty from every working with a baseball team, or training on team property.
It would also serve as an automatic red flag if a player decided to train or associate those banned from working from baseball or the individual organizations.Â Those flags could be used to trigger investigations, possibly leading to more testing for the players involved and grounds for warnings or suspensions.
This wouldnâ€™t clean up the game, but it would be a start.Â Baseball needs more than ever to clean up its own house.Â Among things that need doing is to slap a ban on Hall of Fame eligibility for PED users,Â offer transparency in its testing and investigative procedures and push for even sterner penalties, including the ability to make players â€śpermanently ineligibleâ€ť for even a single infraction of the PED rules.Â Right now what baseball needs to do is to clean up its image and avoid even the image that improper things are happening behind closed doors.
The fans deserve it.