I can’t say I was all that surprised that Major League Baseball suspended Ryan Braun last week. It was just a year ago they tried to get the guy for 50 games, but his lawyers got him off on a technicality. This year he had no such defense and, I’m guessing because his team is out of contention and his hand in injured, one of the biggest stars in baseball decided to take the rest of the season off. Braun is just one of close to 20 players who have been named as clients of the Biogenesis lab in Florida, and before this whole thing plays out there will certainly be plenty of other players who join him on MLB’s not active list.
I hate to say it, but at this point none of this is really surprising. Professional athletes will do anything they can to get an edge over their opposition. There is simply too much money on the table for the world (or the various sports leagues) to expect everyone who competes to do it on the up and up. So we end up with things like the steroid era in MLB (which we apparently still have not yet escaped), the Lance Armstrong scandal, and all those players in the NFL who get suspended on a yearly basis for failing the league’s drug tests. It is certainly a sad state of affairs, but it is one everyone knows exists.
it doesn’t seem like fines or suspensions are enough to stop these guys from cheating, and, I hate to say it, but I believe the only thing a sports league can really do to eliminate this type of cheating is to ban a player for life after their first failed drug test. No questions asked. Just kick the guy out and move on. This is what is being discussed with New York Yankee Alex Rodriguez. I have read multiple reports that he might be on his way out, but I kind of feel like it’s too little too late in his case. Rodriguez has already admitted he used PED’s back when he played with the Texas Rangers. In the years since there have been other indications that maybe he was still dirty, but he never failed a test so he kept on playing. Now, at the age of 37, with his best years behind him, (and not to mention that fact that he is pretty much the biggest pariah in the game) it seems as if MLB wants to make an example out of A-Rod. Good for them I guess, but I sincerely doubt his being banned from the game will stop anyone else from using. I mean, it’s well worth it if you can play for 17 years and make hundreds of millions of dollars – right?
So the baseball world moves on, minus one of its biggest stars, and waits for the next shoe to drop. Seems pretty much like business as usual, which, I think, is probably the saddest part of all.