The Reuters global sports blog
The owner of the Chicago White Sox chided the baseball players’ union for blocking efforts to rid the sport of performance-enhancing drugs, even making a play on words on a famous presidential quote related to the union chief.
Jerry Reinsdorf, speaking at a sports law conference in Chicago, said the important topics facing Major League Baseball have not changed since he last spoke to the lawyers’ group in 1983, but the drugs used by those players who do break the rules have changed from cocaine.
“Now we have steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs,” he said, adding that such drugs give users an unfair advantage over clean players, put users’ health at risk and their use sets a bad example for children.
Despite improved drug testing, Reinsdorf, who also owns the National Basketball Association team in Chicago, said baseball still must deal with human growth hormones, which current tests cannot track.
For that reason, blood tests are likely needed, but the Major League Baseball Players Association union has resisted that approach, he added.
“I believe the game needs to be cleaned up or we’re going to lose fans,” Reinsdorf said.
“We’re testing the loyalty of our fans and I don’t know where the limit is,” he added, pointing to the recent drug-related suspension of Los Angeles Dodgers all-star outfielder Manny Ramirez (who put his failed test down to a medical problem).
Reinsdorf, who called on union chief Don Fehr to work with the owners to protect the game and the players, ended his 15-minute speech by paraphrasing a famous president.
“Remember what Franklin Roosevelt said: ‘We have nothing to fear but Fehr himself,’” Reinsdorf said.
After the speech, Fehr handed a card to the moderator that called on the audience to attend Fehr’s discussion panel on Saturday and warned: “I have more than 15 minutes.”
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