|ESPN.com: Baseball||[Print without images]|
|New Steroids Policy|
|Tony Gwynn's Take|
What's probably more important than the suspension is the public scrutiny players will undergo if they get caught. That might be tougher than the suspension. I believe fans deserve to know who's using steroids. With the new system, they'll know.
MLB's current steroid penalty is no penalty at all, really. For the first offense, there's no public disclosure and the player is given treatment. Lots of innocent players have felt that they've been wrongly and unfairly lumped in with the guys who use steroids. Those players have wanted tougher testing to prove their innocence.
Now the key is for the testing agencies to keep ahead of the masking drugs that steroid users take to conceal their use. The tests will need to be thorough so the new penalties have some teeth.
I hope the new agreement curtails most steroid use. But as long as all that contract money is out there, and steroids help put up numbers that get those contracts, some guys will test it.
But the steroid user needs to realize that it isn't just about him now — it isn't just about one man adding power and piling up stats. A 10-game suspension will impact his teammates and his organization. And being known as a steroid user will tarnish his image.
I hope players realize the awesome opportunity they have to play the game of baseball — and realize that it's a privilege that you can't abuse. And if you're abusing it by using steroids, the penalty just got tougher. I'm glad it did.
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