The HGH Debate: Why It's Cool To Be British Again

WASHINGTON - FEBRUARY 13:  Major League Baseball pitcher Roger Clemens (R) explains why he recently met with his former nanny as his attorneys  Rusty Hardin (L) and Lanny Bruer stand behind him during a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing about allegations of steroid use by professional ball players on Capitol Hill February 13, 2008 in Washington, DC. The 'Mitchell Report' named several former and current major league baseball players, including Clemens, who are accused of using steroids or other performance-enhancing drugs.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Bleacher Report Analyst IFebruary 24, 2010

Americans seem to try their damnedest to not take after the British. After all, it’s how America was founded. But in terms of substance abuse policy in sports, I think it might be time we gave the British a chance.

Do you think so many players would abuse performance enhancing drugs if the sentence was a two year ban instead of a 50 day wrist slap and an apology meeting with Peter Gammons?

Earlier this week, an English rugby league sent shock waves through the sporting world when they suspended Terry Newton, an athlete who tested positive for HGH.

Yes, you read that correctly...HGH.

The drug that, until apparently last week, was impossible to test for is now traceable in blood tests. And more importantly, anti-doping committees all over the planet are starting to stand behind it.

The series of events in England prompted the American media to do something incredibly rare—talk about another country.

And they had reason to.

American sports (particularly baseball and football) have been struggling with their archaic substance abuse policies; and now an English Rugby league has successfully tested for HGH.

If we had to beat everyone to the moon, we certainly should have beaten everyone to the HGH test. So what gives?

As it turns out, nothing gives. And that’s the problem.

In the two days since the British enlightenment, both Bud Selig and Roger Goodell have begun talking to the players unions about implementing drug tests. And since, both unions have thrown their version of a tea party.

Essentially, that’s the reason why both of these sports will continue to have problems.

I’m all for unions and people watching out for one another, especially since NFL retirees are treated like absolute dirt.

But when there is a performance enhancing drug involved, and it's potentially dangerous (and incriminating) for the athletes, and all they have to have done is some blood work, this shouldn’t have to be presented before a union. Besides, I’d guess that about 90 percent of these athletes have tattoos, so I’m assuming they can handle the pain of a finger-prick.

But for those of you who don’t want to buy the union argument, I urge you to think about another figure—two years.

That’s how long Terry Newton will be suspended for after violating the drug policy, and this (to the best of my knowledge) was his first offense.

So here’s some food for thought.

Do you think so many players would abuse performance enhancing drugs if the sentence was a two year ban instead of a 50 day wrist slap and an apology meeting with Peter Gammons?

Two days ago, Britain fired the shot heard round the world. And the American professional sports scene’s complete failure to react has even Paul Revere rolling over in his grave.

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