MLBPA To Discuss Drug-Testing Program With Focus On Catching Offenders
MLB players “expect to discuss changes to the disciplinary portion of the game's drug-testing program when the union holds its annual executive board meetings” in N.Y. this week, according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com. Sources said that “any proposed changes from the players' association's side are likely to focus more on ensuring that offenders get caught than increasing the penalties for failed tests.” Royals P Jeremy Guthrie and Dodgers P Chris Capuano, who also serve as MLBPA player reps on their respective teams, said that they think MLB's joint drug prevention and treatment program is “having the desired effect as a deterrent to performance-enhancing drug use.” Blue Jays LF Melky Cabrera, A’s P Bartolo Colon and Padres C Yasmani Grandal have tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone and received 50-game suspensions since August. Crasnick noted under the rules of MLB's testing program, representatives from the MLBPA and the commissioner's office “meet annually with program administrators, medical authorities and representatives from the company that collects player samples to discuss potential changes and improvements, which must then be collectively bargained.” Some players and union officials have “privately expressed concerns that no distinction is drawn between players who knowingly cheat to beat the system -- as Cabrera did -- and others who test positive because of a mistake or a tainted supplement.” Capuano said that he “doesn't see widespread sentiment among players for longer suspensions -- in part because the stigma of getting caught has already prompted players to be much more careful than they've been in the past” (ESPN.com, 11/26).
PIGSKIN AND POLITICS: ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter cited a source as saying that the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight & Government Reform will “convene a hearing next week to examine the science behind HGH testing and the health concerns surrounding its use.” The hearing will “feature experts and individuals concerned about the dangers of performance-enhancing substances.” The NFLPA has “cited the inadequacy of HGH testing as a reason for holding up implementation of a testing regime in the NFL.” The hearing will “seek opinions on the subject.” The source said that the hearing is “being held because the committee is upset with the union's refusal to allow the testing” (ESPN.com, 11/26).