David "Big Papi" Ortiz and Manny Ramirez are the two names on the list of players who failed the MLB's random, anonymous drug test in 2003. Just as when it was announced A-Rod failed the test, I was appalled, not shocked but appalled.
Despite the muscle definition and growth they experienced I always maintained the idea of "innocent until proven guilty." With these positive tests they, along with everyone else who tested positive in 2003, are going to be bombarded by the media and ridiculed by the fans.
I am completely opposed to the idea of players using steroids. I feel like they aren't just cheating an opposing team, but they are cheating themselves, the fans, and the game of baseball itself. I also believe that the use of performance-enhancing drugs jeopardizes the integrity of professional baseball.
However, that being said, I have one problem that is bigger than the one I have with these athletes testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs. I'm upset that these tests, which were conducted at random in 2003, were supposed to be anonymous. These tests were supposed to be used by the MLB to determine if random drug testing was necessary. The results were supposed to remain anonymous.
While I believe that people who used performance-enhancing drugs should be punished, you can't punish them for doing something that, at the time, wasn't against the rules.
Furthermore, I know that, thus far, the players who failed that set of drug tests haven't faced formal punishment by Major League Baseball. However, their names have been released to the public and now their records and names are tarnished. It doesn't matter if they, like Alex Rodriguez supposedly, only took steroids for a short period of time, they will forever be labeled cheaters.
Since then, the MLB saw reason to implement drug testing and punishments for failed tests beginning in 2004. I may be naive, but I fully believe that if a player failed the anonymous test, they were probably "randomly" selected to be tested in the years immediately following the 2003 season.
The players who failed the tests were, in all probability, subjected to more frequent tests afterward. Being that there was a penalty, I would assume most players would have ceased using steroids. If a player won an award or a team won a championship, there is a good chance that that player, or members of that team were "randomly" selected to take a drug test some time in the near future.
All of this being said, I believe that if A-Rod or Big Papi passed all drug tests post-2003, there is absolutely no reason for them to come under public scrutiny. Now Manny Ramirez is a different story altogether. Manny was suspended this season for 50 games for failing a drug test, and this suspension even seemed a bit lenient. However, this releasing of names from 2003 is unnecessary.
The bottomline is that these tests were anonymous, and releasing any of these names is a violation of trust and could perhaps be called defamation of character. Players who failed this test are being unjustly targeted by whoever is releasing the names.
The past is the past. If they failed that test and cleaned up their act, then fine. Nobody will ever know they took performance-enhancing drugs, except the players who ignored the rules. However, those who continued to use PEDs will be found out, and will be punished.
Just ask Manny.