Yesterday I wrote a letter to the Commissioner of baseball, Bud Selig. I sent a copy of the letter to Don Fehr, the Executive Director of the Baseball Players Union. I also sent a copy to various media points. I initially posted this on my other blog, but I see that it is pertinent here as well.
In this letter, I give a real and legitimate solution to baseball’s steroid problem, a problem that is also prevalent in other sports and apparently at all levels (college, high school, even earlier).
9 July 2007
Allan H. (Bud) Selig
Office of The Commissioner
Major League Baseball
245 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10167
Dear Commissioner Selig:
The steroids controversy does not appear likely to resolve any time soon. Investigations can move forward, but this is a very slow road with the vast majority of players not eager to come forward. Sosa and McGuire embarrassed the game and lost many a friend when they wasted a good opportunity before Congress. Outside of San Francisco, way too many fans will be unhappy when Barry breaks the record. Breaking this record should be a great moment for baseball, and it will be far from it.
The cloud that steroids casts over this great game will cause many other problems down the line, including:
Who should be in the Hall of Fame?
How should broken records be viewed?
Who used steroids and how much did it affect their game?
How much did steroids affect team play?
Did pitchers use them and what effects did this have on the game?
The list could go on and I realize I am not telling you anything new.
So I’ll get right to it:
We need a solution that puts an END to the problem and puts an end to the speculation connected with the problem.
And that solution is very simple:
Offer a complete and thorough amnesty to every player. EVERY player gets the opportunity to come clean.
The player lists out what he took, when he took it, and gives all of the details. You could and should include a questionnaire to facilitate this.
The player gets the chance to get it all off his chest. He is no longer withholding information from his team, other players, MLB, the fans, even their families. This will be a huge relief for every player.
It will also be a huge relief for the fans. You make the information public, every bit of it. The media and the fans will review it, talk about it and in fairly short order put it behind them.
The players and the game of baseball will also be able to put it all behind them.
Nothing short of a COMPLETE AMNESTY will get the result that baseball needs.
One key point: IF a player doesn’t come clean in his amnesty write-up, then he can be severely penalized if substance abuse is later discovered. And make the penalties for this severe. Like banned from baseball.
There are details to work out on this, but a complete and far-reaching amnesty WILL COMPLETELY RESOLVE THIS PROBLEM. Baseball cannot afford the enormous amount of ongoing mystery and speculation on the part of the players, the fans, the media and even the families of the players!
This speculation is not only undermining the sport, it’s undermining professional sports. The problem seeps into college, high school and earlier. We do not want sports talk radio in the year 2020 to be centered on steroid use. We want it gone.
With one fell swoop, you can clean up the sport and, in so doing, set a precedent for every other sport to do the same.
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