Three hours into a conference held Monday by Major League Baseball on human growth hormone, the real question of the day emerged when officials from the commissioner’s office and the players union wondered aloud about how effective the current blood test for human growth hormone was if no one had tested positive.
In the wake of last December’s Mitchell report, Commissioner Bud Selig said he would bring together leading experts in the field of performance-enhancing drugs to discuss the barriers of testing for human growth hormone.
HGH is not a performance-enhancing drug. Why is MLB doing this? The same reason I have to attend diversity training: to give the appearance of solving a problem that the public cares about. And in the case of growth hormone, public opinion is at odds with the scientific consensus.
No one would believe MLB if it stood up and stated what exercise physiologists have long known: that there are no ergogenic effects from using HGH. The response would be, “MLB is refusing to fight drugs!” They can’t win that battle any more than throwing a ball around circle to discuss racial feelings is going to cure Klansmen of racism. So, we live this bizarre fiction that HGH does work and that it is worth stopping, despite the fact that it runs counter to findings of scientific studies.
I guess I can’t blame MLB. It’s the cheapest way to fight a public relations problem—that’s all this is. And the sad part is that HGH’s prohibition signals to potential users that it works, and the drug has many bad side effects. If anything, the war on growth hormone will do more harm than good. As I have suggested before, the best solution is to legalize it.