Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Forgotten Victims of MLB's "Steroids Era"

I've written extensively about the steroids/performance-enhancing drugs (PED) issue here, including a piece that explained how the "godfather" of steroids in America fooled medical experts into saying that steroids don't work and a post that talked about why steroids users should be banned for life. ESPN the Magazine's Rick Reilly recently wrote a column about some people who could be considered forgotten victims of MLB's "Steroids Era": clean minor league players who never got their shot at the big time because the cheaters outperformed them.

Reilly declares, "I think minor league players...should file a class action, restraint of trade lawsuit against Major League Baseball because they sat stewing in the minors while big leaguers were allowed to cheat...You think the steroids issue is dead, but it isn't. These guys live with the fallout every day. Their dreams died in big league clubhouse johns. I'm telling you: lawsuit." Reilly says that according to Stanford labor law professor emeritus William Gould IV, minor league players would have to establish three things in court in order to prevail with such an action. Here they are, in Reilly's words:

1) A correlation between steroid use and better performance. (Please.)

2) That baseball turned a blind eye to steroid use. (Exhibit A: baseball's own Mitchell Report. It blames Bud Selig and players association COO Gene Orza for allowing steroids to spread like crabgrass. Mitchell said there was a "code of silence" in baseball. You think? Oriole David Segui told his GM that he wanted to go to Florida to pick up juice, and the GM never reported it. A Twins visiting clubhouse attendant found a used syringe and told manager Tom Kelly, who never reported it. The thing has more conspiracies than an Oliver Stone movie.)

3) "Nonstatutory labor exemption considerations," Gould IV says. That's just so complicated it makes our head ache, but a good shark would gobble it right up.

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