It appears I spoke a little prematurely when I mentioned in my piece, MLB Beats NFL in Holding Athletes Accountable for HGH Use, that Major League Baseball was taking a giant step forward in their approach to testing players for HGH and demonstrating to the NFL how to get the job done.
Based on the recent article in The Washington Post, Major League Baseball HGH Program Has a Loophole: No In-season Testing, in reality, they’ve done little more than give lip service to the idea of truly leveling the playing field.
How can anyone ever take MLB seriously—or any professional athletic organization, for that matter—if they only give a half-hearted effort when dealing with unethical and illegal performance-enhancement?
Really? No in-season testing? Are they kidding? Someone is—or a lot of someones are—either completely clueless or has some other agenda. MLB's proposed procedure holds absolutely no basis in logic without in-season testing.
According to the Washington Post piece, testing would be extensive (1,000 the first year), but would only occur during spring training and the offseason, leaving approximately six to seven months of non-testing time available to unethical players.
Gary Wadler, former prohibited-list committee chairman for WADA, weighed in with his opinion:
Why should they be getting a free pass during the season?...You’d have an enormous opportunity to dope with growth hormone and never be detected…I applaud them for taking a step in the right direction. I would applaud them with gusto if they took the step they should be taking: year-round [HGH] testing.
Geez, is there anyone out there in the pro sports world who actually “gets it?” It certainly doesn’t seem so.
Me? I’d take it a big step further and go for the Athlete Biological Passport that WADA encourages. However, that would take some real change in attitude by all professional athletic organizations and players associations.
I’m not holding my breath on that one.