An off-day Monday night seems like the perfect time to further discuss Miguel Tejada's 105-game suspension for testing positive twice this season for Adderall. It's not going to have any sort of impact on the Royals the rest of the year, as Tejada was a role player who had already been placed on the 60-day DL, but there were a few intriguing storylines to come out of the suspension.
I'm going to muse on a few of those storylines before hopefully (Update: probably not) putting this story to rest as we cling to the Royals faint playoff dreams during the remainder of the season.
The union has been arguing with MLB that #Royals Miguel Tejada had a TUE exemption, but since it expired, MLB refused to concede.— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) August 17, 2013
Tejada had been taking Adderall for awhile know, but had a Therapeutic Use Exemption up until April of this season. For whatever reason, Tejada's TUE expired, ending his exemption to the Joint Drug Agreement.
I haven't been able to figure out whether Tejada missed a deadline or paperwork which led to the expiration, or if MLB simply denied his TUE because they rejected his claim of a medical need to take Adderall. Adderall is prescribed for attention deficit disorder (and narcolepsy), so if Tejada has ADD, I believe he was well within his right to continue taking his prescription and hoping the MLBPA could help him get another exemption.
I also don't know for sure if Tejada suffers from ADD. He used to have a TUE, which would imply that he does, but then it's difficult to understand how/why that could expire. Although it seems likely that some of the 116 players who currently have TUE's for Adderall do not need them, Mike Pelfrey of the Minnesota Twins opened up about his TUE and how the Adderall helps him focus during starts. Despite the potential for abuses, some players do need Adderall and should not be shamed for taking the drug.
What we know for sure is that Tejada has been taking the drug for awhile, even though he was supposed to stop in April. It would be nice to know more about Tejada and why his TUE expired, as it has a big impact on who is morally "correct" in this situation.
How does Tejada largely get a pass this morning for 3rd longest suspension in history? Lied to Congress, 105-game suspension. Horrible.— Dennis Dodd (@dennisdoddcbs) August 18, 2013
Dodd does a good job of pointing out the lack of outrage over the Tejada story, especially when compared to the recent Biogenesis scandal. It's easy to argue that Tejada's crimes are worse than Ryan Braun's, but Braun is getting crushed while Tejada is getting ignored.
There's a host of factors contributing to the lack of outrage, including the TUE confusion. Both Braun and Tejada may be former MVP's, but Tejada is long past his prime while Braun is in the midst of his. Since Tejada is mostly out of the public view, people simply don't care as much.
Tejada also quietly apologized for transgressions, while Braun held a press conference declaring his innocence, only to later be suspended. If there's something the American public/media can't handle, it's being openly lied too. I would also guess that Tejada has treated reporters better in his career than Braun has, which led to some of the differences in coverage.
Finally, most baseball fans don't equate taking amphetamines with taking steroids or HGH. Even if it's difficult to quantify which PED affects performance more, steroids seem like they have a larger impact. It's easy to remember the transformation made by some of the sluggers in the late '90's/early 00's while seeing the increase in home runs. It's harder to see someone whose exhausted in the middle of August who just needs a boost of energy to perform.
So the Tejada story isn't drawing as much interest/outrage that Dodd expected it too. As someone who is tired of PED stories in general, I'm actually OK with this.
It's absolutely ridiculous that Kevin beat everyone on this Tejada story by 4 days and he gets no credit for it. SHAME ON ALL OF YOU.— TJ Carpenter (@TJCarpenterWHB) August 18, 2013
The most interesting part of the Tejada saga to me is that Kevin Kietzman of 810 WHB first reported that Tejada had been taking Adderall and that his TUE expired. Kietzman did not know or did not report if Tejada was going to be supsended, but certainly implied that a Tejada suspension was upcoming.
Kietzman's story broke on Aug. 14, with news of the suspension coming from Jeff Passan on Aug. 18. The radio host received almost zero national credit for his original report, which understandably miffed Carpenter.
There's a few reasons why Kietzman was overlooked by many in the story. Kietzman may have been first to the story, but his original information wasn't conclusive. Ben Nielsen of KC Kingdom wrote a great article breaking down the actual reporting, and his points still stand even if Kietzman was proven correct. I can understand why someone like Bob Dutton may not want to write a story about the situation until he has more hard information, but I also understand why Kietzman talked about the story in the first place.
Secondly, if you didn't listen to Kietzman on-air or read his blog post, you probably had no idea that the story even happened. Passan told Carpenter as much in an interesting conversation on Twitter. The story could have been presented/promoted better, which would have helped it gain traction. Fellow 810 host Soren Petro did a good job breaking the Chiefs trading Jonathan Baldwin story, discussing the news on radio but also immediately Tweeting out the information needed without any editorializing.
Lastly, I know a fair amount of people don't like/don't trust Kietzman, especially around here. The distrust of Kietzman led many to overlook the story, while if Dutton had wrote a similar story, it certainly would have
grown more legs gained more traction. I don't have much interest in discussing whether his reputation is fair, but the good news for Kietzman is that the next time he is reporting a story first, people will be more likely to take him seriously.
Even if their has been a little slap-fighting between Dutton and Kietzman, I think it's easy to see everyone's side on this issue. Kietzman did a good job uncovering the start of the story, but Dutton didn't need to report anything until there was more evidence. 810 and Kietzman deserved more national credit for their story, but could have helped their own cause by presenting the story in a better fashion.
Miguel Tejada linked to Biogenesis: http://t.co/GNZPtQ3FgQ— JIM BOWDEN (@JimBowdenESPNxm) August 19, 2013
This certainly adds a new wrinkle, doesn't it? If Tejada does end up receiving a lengthier suspension because of his alleged connection to Biogenesis, I'm sure we will have more to say on it. It would likely be adding insult to injury, since Tejada seems unlikely to play in the majors again.
I started this post saying we could hopefully put this issue to rest, but things have already changed by the time I've finished. If Tejada gets dragged into the mess, he could really see some wrath from the national media. Then again, he got to play another season of baseball, and the Royals got a veteran leader who made some contributions as a role player, so it seems like the whole situation may have worked out for everyone.