Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Roger Clemens

If Roger Clemens cheated, it is a matter for Major League Baseball to handle. If he broke the law, then a prosecutor should file charges. The role of the legislative branch is to write the law, not enforce it. A forklift driver who uses drugs has committed the same offense that Clemens is accused of.

Whatever one's opinion of the drug war, the primary responsibility of keeping employees drug free rests with the employers. Typically, when a private employer finds evidence of drug use, the suspected drug user is quietly terminated without involving the police. Congress doesn't grill factory workers over alleged meth use.

The burden of maintaining the integrity and reputation of professional sports rests with the leagues.

16 comments:

Kevin said...

I used to have the same viewpoint that you did in regards to Congress getting involved in pro sports.

Then I read this article http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=easterbrook/080202&sportCat=nfl&lpos=spotlight&lid=tab1pos1 (regarding the Patriots cheating scandal) and it includes this:

Think Congress has no business investigating sports? Most NFL teams play in publicly subsidized stadiums, and NFL games are aired over public airwaves controlled by federal licenses. The licenses, among other things, prohibit any pre-arrangement or artifice in what is presented as live competition. If a Super Bowl were affected by cheating, that would be a legitimate matter of concern to Congress. Plus, the recent lesson learned via baseball and steroids was that Major League Baseball did not clean up its own house until Congress put some pressure on.


Robert- this makes sense to me. If we are going to fund these teams, we have a right to know that no one is cheating!

Kevin said...

OH...and this just in- according to ABCNews- the Patriots have been cheating since 2000!!! When Belichick took over as coach.

Robert Fuller said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Robert Fuller said...

I agree with congress investigating major sports.I disagree with you on this one Robert.I dont see how you can compare a factory workers use of drugs to a major athletes.A factory worker doesnt get a huge pay raise if they use drugs.Athletes do example of this in our news daily with Roger Clemens.I cant say if he did or didnt.If he did his records should be stripped crimminal charges should be filed.The teams these guys played for should have their money recooped.My personal opinion is Clemens did use. I dont know of any pitcher playing as long as he has and has been as dominate as him. Except for Satchel Paige. But again Paige didnt have Hgh or Steroids.

Templeton Peck said...

I agree with Kevin (I hope its not Knuth). As soon as pro sports accepted government assistance (exemption from anti-trust laws, public financing for stadiums, etc.) they should not be surprised to find themselves subject to a government inquiry.

Robert Fuller said...

Templeton and Kevin are right on this one.For all thse who complain congress has better things to do.

Jeff Pruitt said...

The issue I have is that I can't for the life of me figure out why anyone would care if a professional athlete, and adult, decides to use performance enhancing drugs.

These people choose to put this substance into their body to further their career opportunities - who am I to say that choice is wrong?

Why is it even illegal? These guys have access to team physicians and there is no evidence that steroid use under the guide of a physician is any more dangerous than other prescription drugs.

But don't worry Mark Souder is there to protect them from themselves. Good grief - does the Libertarian Party even exist any more?

Robert Enders said...

Jeff,
Of course I think drugs should be legalized, but I still think that an employer does have the right to prohibit an employee from using drugs. An employer bears the sole burden of ensuring that employees obey the rules. The government should not be involved if you clock in late, the government should not be involved if you fail a drug test. Whether or not Clemens violated MLB rules is up to MLB to decide.

Since steroid use without a perscription is illegal, I do accept that the government will take steps to enforce that law. While I think that law should be changed, the purpose of this post was to point out that it is ridiculous for Congress to investigate an alleged crime. It is the job of law enforcement, not Congress, to investigate illegal activities.

Let me put it another way. I fully support laws against theft. But I don't think that the state legislature should investigate alleged shoplifters. The police should handle that.

Phil Marx said...

I'm not opining here about whether or not it should be illegal. But since it currently it is illegal, the rich sports player should be subjected to the same rules as the poor factory worker.

If we let the FBI handle it, they would try to place some of their agents inside these organizations. They might be players, or they might be part of the health care team. When the sting was over, everyone would say "You spent how much time and money to infiltrate them?" "Wouldn't it have been a lot easier and cheaper to just call them before Congress and ask them what is going on?"

Templeton Peck said...

Jeff

Strange argument for a proponent of the smoking ban to be making.

Robert Enders said...

Templeton,
Jeff's reason for supporting the smoking ban is that the smoke from a cigarette harms nearby non-smokers. I oppose the smoking ban on the basis that a nonsmoker can simply avoid going to places that allow smoking.

A user can inject drugs into his veins without harming bystanders. So Jeff and I at least agree that it is not the government's concern if an adult uses performance enhancing drugs.

Jeff Pruitt said...

Templeton,

Robert accurately describes my postion.

Robert,

We are in agreement on the role of congress as well - they should not be law enforcement...

Templeton Peck said...

Robert

I'm sure your right. However, everyone knows that the purpose of the smoking ban is to de-normalize smoking and to encourage people to quit. (Of course, making smoking seem less mainstream and, conseqeuently, more rebellious, leads to teen smoking, but that's another argument). The second-hand harm to others argument is, and always has been, a subterfuge. If protecting people from secondhand smoke was really the reason, why didn't they ban it in homes where kids have to live? What really exposes the duplicity is why on earth did they exempt tobacco shops? Don't we care about the poor tobacco shop worker who is exposed to second hand smoke? Of course the answer is that concern for nonsmokers has never been the reason for the ordinance.

Doug H. Chair, LPAC said...

To All,

I've always wondered why the use of drug enhancement in sports is considered so abhorrent?

Consider if you will the history of sports in America. 100 years ago our sports hero's were capable of achieving greatness based almost entirely on genetics. Babe Ruth, Jack Dempsey, Satchel Paige and many others.

These sportsmen were pretty well elevated to greatness by basic practice and tremendous natural ability.

Over the years our training of athletes has become so advanced we can (and DO) create computer models of their swing, form, kick, whatever it may take to drive them beyond their maximum human potential.

Years of progress in the arena of physical therapy and understanding of the human body allow for the maximum potential of a joint or muscle to be achieved.

We have progressed tremendously in the area of diet, vitamins, and nutrition.

Why the resistance to the use of chemicals to enhance performance?

The argument that "it would give the athlete an UNFAIR advantage" falls apart when you consider the fact that if it were allowed everyone would use them and thus even the playing field for all. Then would have to wait for the next leap in technology to give athletes an edge.

Personally for me all sports could disappear from the face of planet earth and I would not be disappointed. I would far rather spend my time watching a congressional hearing that will affect the lives of every American than a bunch of stinky athletes chasing a ball. Because in the end the winner of the game affects no one except for the competitors.

We have more important things to occupy our time than our gladiators.

Respectfully,

Doug Horner

gadfly said...

The really strange thing about baseball and steroids is that the drugs were completely permissible to use until the last few years. That makes the "crime" not only victimless but not a banned action whatsoever. Even if banned, the rule in place is a work rule, not a crime.

Baseball players have been using corked bats, roughing up baseball leather with sandpaper and throwing spitballs from almost the beginning of the sport.

Only gamblers and suspected gamblers have been banned by the sport.

It is time for sports writers and Congress to get a life.

Templeton Peck said...

Doug

I would not argue with you that sports is overemphasized in American culture. However, to say that winning the competition only affects the participants is so ridiculous it almost renders your opinion invalid. To fail to recognize the socio-economic impact of sports, particularly the impact of major victories (Super Bowl, World Series, NCAA, etc.) is to commit an egregious oversight. I'm not saying that its good or bad, I'm saying don't bury your head in the sand and say its only a bunch of stinky athletes chasing a ball around. Those stinky athletes are involved in a multi-billion dollar a year industry that is often subsidized publically, both monetarily and otherwise.