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The New MLB Drug Testing Policy

Aug 17, 2007
If you've been following the news lately, no doubt you've heard about the new MLB drug testing policy. While you may have heard about the policy you might not understand the specific implications of the policy and how it may affect your favorite players and teams.

The new policy was brought about by threat of legislation from Congress. Under the policy tougher penalties for steroid use are implemented. Under the new policy the players are to be tested during their spring training along with at least one additional test during the regular season as well as being subject to random testing throughout the regular season.

Under the previous policy, penalties were much less severe. For example, for a first offense a player would be subject to a 10-day suspension and then 30 days for a second offense. A third offense would rate a 60 day suspension. The new policy calls for a 50 game suspension for the first offense and a 100 game offense for the second offense. For a third offense the player will receive a lifetime ban. Additionally, after the first offense the player will be subjected to amphetamines testing as well as steroid testing. This is the first time the problem of amphetamine use will have been addressed by a policy with MLB. Under the old policy a player could not receive a lifetime ban until he had been hit with at least a fifth offense.

Under the previous policy testing was also conducted on a much less frequent basis. Testing was conducted at the beginning of spring training with no additional testing through the regular season other than random testing. Under this policy, it was quite possible for a player to only be tested once from the beginning of spring training throughout the regular season.

The policy stipulated that players who tested positive for steroid the year prior to the new policy taking affect would be treated as first time offenders under the new policy if they should test positive again.

It should be noted that in the event a player is banned for life after a third offense under the new policy, a player can apply for permission to return to the game two years after receiving the ban. An independent arbitrator can be assigned for the purpose of reviewing the Commissioner's decision in this instance.

The policy also takes a stab at possession of illegal steroid use in addition to use of illegal steroids. Players convicted for the possession of illegal steroids are subject to a 60-80 game suspension for the first offense and 120 games to one year for a second offense. A lifetime ban is on the table for a third offense. Players who are convicted of steroid distribution face tougher suspensions for the first offense and are subject to a lifetime ban after the first offense.

Penalties for amphetamine use are slightly less severe than for steroid use. Mandatory follow-up testing is dictated for the first offense with a 25 game suspension for the second offense. An 80 game suspension will be given for the third positive test and at the fourth offense the penalty is left up to the Commissioner, which could include a lifetime ban.
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Joe Kenny writes for the UK soccer forum site, FootballTalk.org. Join the football forum for free today and have your say!
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