Senator Mitchell gave Bud Selig an excellent opportunity to further baseball’s understanding of performance-enhancing drugs in baseball.
I urge the Commissioner to forgo imposting discipline on players for past violations of baseball’s rules on performance enhancing substances, including the players named in this report, except in those cases where he determines that the conduct is so serious that discipline is necessary to maintain the integrity of the game.
I think it is unfortunate that Selig has ignored Senator Mitchell’s recommendation, and I think he is going to regret his decision.
The one area the commissioner indicated he would split with the report was Mitchell’s suggestion that no players named be disciplined. “I will deal with the active players identified by Sen. Mitchell,” he said. “Discipline of players and others identified in this report will be on a case-by-case basis.”
Why is amnesty important? One interesting development since the release of the report is the admissions of guilt by the players listed in the report. I suspect their responses were motivated by desires to improve public image and to avoid disciplinary proceedings. Nearly all players who have confessed insist that is was a single mistake that occurred during a moment of weakness. This is a response that limits the damage to only those instances where they have been pinned by hard evidence. I believe that amnesty would change the responses we are witnessing to more explicit and detailed accounts of drug use. This would have provided greater understanding of the scope of the problem, and possibly provided information about which potential remedies will work to rid the game of steroids.
Any player who chooses to use this stuff must not do so lightly. Steroids are not magic pills that automatically bulk up a player. It’s not like Popeye eating spinach. In order to achieve the ergogenic benefits, use must be combined with rigorous athletic training and a commitment to cycles of doses. I would like to know a little bit more about the regimens that players employed and for how long. Amnesty would have provided the cover athletes need to completely clear their consciences. This is very much a legal issue. As any good lawyer will tell you, you should never admit to wrong-doing if you can avoid it. Players have responded to Selig, by giving up the minimum.
The game of shadows continues, thanks to Bud Selig.