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George Mitchell spoke to Congress today. In his discussion, he opened by stating the serious risks posed by steroid usage by professional athletes. Professional sports stars’ usage of steroids as enabling agents for success have ultimately encouraged young people to use them, as they look up to successful athletes. Mitchell noted that a higher risk for severe injury exists for young adults using steroids than older people. Reports estimate that between two and six percent of high school students use steroids.
Mitchell noted that MLB has had a slow response to combating steroids and initial methods to stopping their usage have proven ineffective. Until 2002, MLB had opposed using random and mandatory testing of players.
Mitchell further stressed that players who used steroids/HGH violated federal law and MLB policy. Such players violated the rules and tried to gain an unfair disadvantage prompting other law-abiding and rule-abiding players to try and use performance enhancing drugs to gain a competitive advantage (or a normalized “advantage” if steroid usage was rampant).
Mitchell stated that steroid abusers “did not act in a vacuum,” however, and that all members of MLB are in someway at fault: a “collective failure.” MLB’s environment fostered widespread illegal use of performance enhancing substances. New measures must be taken, people can’t be “chained to the past;” they can’t go out to find the “name of every player who used performance enhancing substances.” Mitchell admits his findings are not totally conclusive; more violations have likely occurred that are not included in his report. Other facilities such as “rejuvenation centers” have been known to provide players with substances of “doubtful validity.”
Mitchell states that now is the time to look to the future. MLB has a difficult task ahead; they must use a well-planned and well-executed strategy to end steroid/HGH usage in professional baseball. He notes that the adoptions of the steps in his report are a start to making this a reality, but cautions any changes are subject to the rules of collective bargaining agreements.
Mitchell outlined the three areas of improvement he noted his report:
Mitchell concluded by leaving the issue to the commissioner, players, and clubs as to how they will proceed.
Next, we’ll discuss the question and answer session between Congress and George Mitchell, with some excellent questions and surprising answers.
Tags: Mitchell Report