Congress is apparently intent on forcing the major sports leagues to allow one drug testing organization to oversee all of their efforts:
House lawmakers introduced a bill Tuesday that would create a national standard for steroids testing for all professional sports and require a two-year suspension for a first positive test and a lifetime ban for a second offense.
Under the bill, athletes in baseball, football, basketball, hockey and other pro sports in the United States caught using performance-enhancing substances would face the same stringent penalties as Olympic athletes.
I don’t understand how this would be legal, let alone anything more than grandstanding. I’ve got a couple of emails out to some of the legal beagles out there in the blogosphere, and will follow up asap.
In the meantime, next up in their theatre of the absurd is the NFL, according to this NY Daily News article. The NFL’s testing policy, long held up as the gold standard for professional sports, (by esentially all the major news media outlets, print, radio and television), has recently been exposed as full of the same flaws any collectively bargained drug testing program would be. NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue has quickly responded to the rash of bad publicity by working with NFLPA head Gene Upshaw to enact a more stringent testing policy, but since the Congressional leaders running this investigation have no idea what they are doing or talking about, it probably won’t make a difference.
The idea of a single testing program for all the professional sports isn’t neccessarily the worst idea I’ve ever heard, but the fact that the sports have a different number of games, different length of seasons, different numbers of players, different histories of drug use, and different banned drugs makes for some serious, well, differences.
Add in the ridiculous insistence that professional athletes be held to the only zero tolerance penalty system in the free world is the real reason Congress is in for a tough time. Here’s a suggestion for our fearless leaders:
When you knuckleheads (as in, the US Government) are held to a zero tolerance penalty system for all of the things that are against your rules, athletes should be too.
I mean, if the most powerful leaders in our country aren’t role models, who is? Until then, give it a rest. Nobody in their right mind thinks that Northwestern defensive tackle Luis Castillo should be banned from the NFL for life for taking Andro, and neither should you. It’s an absurd position, one that is virtually indefensible; and by insisting that it be a part of the program, you are adding an unneccessary and illogical barrier to achieving your goal.