With Rafael Palmiero returning after his grueling 10-game suspension for violating Major League Baseball’s drug rules, the attention is back on the whole drug problem in professional sports. A lot of people are calling for the major leagues to toughen their punishments of athletes who break the rules, while the players’ unions are resisting such moves.
I think I have a simpler solution. I think we ought to simply eliminate all the penalties in sports for drug abuse.
But on the other hand, we can’t simply ignore these violations. After all, these drugs are illegal. So instead of fining or suspending the athletes, let’s make the people who administer the tests mandatory reporters to the police.
I think it’s about time we stopped pussyfooting around with this issue. These are criminals, willfully evading the law and abusing drugs — some restricted, some outright banned. Let’s treat them like we would most ordinary people and haul them before the courts if they insist on violating the laws.
And if they are getting the drugs from a physician, it’s time to haul the doc in, too. Let’s see how many “sports physicians” keep pumping their patients full of Performance Juice after they’ve lost their license and are facing charges themselves.
And once the courts are done with these folks, then the leagues can have their turn at bat.