By Kristin Poland
Several years after Congress began investigating the use of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) in baseball and the Mitchell Report’s withering condemnation of the culture of Major League Baseball that allowed for their widespread use, some players continue to risk their careers in order to attempt to gain an advantage over their fellow players. Recent PED scandals have implicated some of the biggest names in the game, including last year’s National League MVP, Ryan Braun, and former Atlanta Brave and 2012 All-Star MVP Melky Cabrera, and former Cy Young Award winner Bartolo Colon. Braun contested the test results and eventually succeeded in overturning his suspension prior to the beginning of the season based on a chain of custody issue surrounding the urine sample. Cabrera, on the other hand, quickly admitted to taking a substance that he should not have, and accepted a fifty-game suspension from the league. Likewise, Colon accepted his suspension and issued an apology statement through the Players’ Association.
The current Major League Baseball Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program, agreed to by the league and the MLB Players’ Association, governs testing for prohibited substances among players and also outlines punishments for positive tests. These guidelines were first adopted in 2006, in response to Congress’ investigation. A first positive test results in an automatic fifty-game suspension, while a second earns a player a suspension for one hundred games. A player who has a third positive test will be banned from Major League Baseball for life.
If you are interested in learning more about PEDs and Major League Baseball, the Law Library has a number of resources for you. A copy of the Mitchell Report can be found through the GPO, or a quick search in GIL Express. Additionally, a large number of law review and other scholarly articles have been written on the topic, and, among other databases, are available through HeinOnline.