Ryan Braun, Alex Rodriguez and PEDs in Baseball: Do You Care?

Jonathan Ferrey

Well, we know this lineup of stiffs is clean. But is the game? And should we care?

Ryan Braun has agreed to a 65 game suspension with Major League Baseball for violation of the league's drug policy after the league supposedly discovered evidence from the Biogenesis Lab in Miami. Many leaked reports suggest Alex Rodriguez is almost certainly next with a suspension perhaps even lengthier than Braun's. Bartolo Colon, Nelson Cruz, Everth Cabrera and Yasmani Grandal could all follow as well.

I joke that our teams is likely clean, but if there is anything we should have learned from the Mitchell Report and the recent Biogenesis scandal is that there is NO profile for a PED user. It is not just big muscle-bound power hitters that use the stuff. It is light-hitting speedsters like Alex Sanchez. It is power pitchers like Roger Clemens. It is crafty left-handers trying to recover from injuries like Andy Pettitte.

But should we care?

Pro sports are instituting new concussion measures meant to protect players from debilitating head-injuries that can shorten their life. This has raised the ire of some fans who feel players should toughen up or that these measures are not needed. If a player were to lie on his concussion test to stay in the game, is that cheating? He's violating the rules to the detriment of his own health to stay on the field. How is this different from what Andy Pettitte did?

Or maybe there is a distinction to be made when a player uses PEDs to recover from injuries and when they take PEDs to become bigger, stronger, faster. But should there be? In either case, we are presuming there is a risk to long-term health (and even that is up for debate). Why make that distinction?

Overall I am glad there is testing and that the sports are trying to keep PEDs out until we really know all the long-term health effects. But I haven't exactly bought into the idea that PEDs are automatically bad. If we find out that when properly supervised they can allow professional athletes to be bigger, stronger, and allow them to stay on the field more, all while being relatively safe, why wouldn't we allow that?

Anyway, its interesting that Ryan Braun is being thrown under the bus by so many of his fellow players. The fact that he lied about this for so long seems to be thrown in his face, but I really don't see people being less angry had he been up front about it the entire time (and look at Andy Petttite, who denied it, but somehow hasn't caught the flak that Bonds, Clemens, and Braun have caught). Braun knowingly broke the rules, and has accepted his punishment, so I don't feel sorry for him, but the histrionics by some in the media strike me as ridiculous.

I'll give the last word to Jeremy Guthrie.

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