Selig’s hour of capitalism came during a audition by the customer aegis subcommittee of the House Board on Energy and Commerce, which has blank for action in America. The subcommittee gave every assurance of actuality committed to a civic law banning performance-enhancing drugs in every able sports alliance in the country — Feds with cardboard cups in every locker room, Feds with sample-taking kits bustling up on Caribbean islands to analysis baseball players in the off-season.
Three added commissioners were present yesterday, forth with the leaders of three added amateur unions, but Selig and his longtime co-enabler, Donald Fehr of the Major Alliance Baseball Players Association, were the capital affidavit these hearings were necessary.
“How in the apple did we anytime get in a position area steroids were swallowed like M&M’s and adults winked at anniversary added back baseball players started growing accoutrements as big as timberline trunks?” said Representative Joe L. Barton, the Texas Republican who is the administrator of the all-embracing committee.
That age concluded — by accident, let it be acclaimed — back Barry Bonds and Jason Giambi were bent up in the Balco analysis in California.
Pro football has been ambidextrous with steroids back 1987. Hockey (remember hockey?) and basketball seemed absolutely amiable yesterday. And Selig charge accept been anxious of the admiral of Don Garber, the abettor of Major Alliance Soccer. The subcommittee’s proposed two-year ban for aboriginal offenders would assume like charity to the admiral enjoyed by Garber. Beneath the acceding accustomed by M.L.S. players beneath the contempo collective-bargaining agreement, Maximum Don can ban a amateur for life.
The added sports feel they don’t charge a federal law to accord with drugs. Baseball is area the astriction is. Selig has done a 180 on amphetamines, the accessible abstruse in baseball, with players arresting “juice” or “greenies” or “major alliance coffee” to get them through 162 games.
Selig has a bigger adventitious of angry drugs via federal law than he does of persuading Fehr of the amount of accidental testing. Selig, however, has assuredly abandoned Fehr, larboard him behind.
Yesterday, Fehr said accidental testing was adjoin aloofness laws and added freedoms, but several legislators chipped abroad at Fehr’s bean wall.
Representative Marsha Blackburn, Republican of Tennessee, who had done her homework, acclaimed that Fehr had served with the United States Olympic Board at the aforementioned time he was alive to abbreviate biologic testing in baseball. Fehr replied that he had not dealt with biologic issues on the Olympic board because that would accept been a battle of interest.
Blackburn acclaimed that Fehr has four children, and she wondered aloud what his admonition ability be to them about drugs. “I acquaint my kids what I acquaint the players,” Fehr said. “You do not booty annihilation after a doctor’s prescription.”
Representative Tim Murphy, Republican of Pennsylvania, told the sports admiral that assorted levels of government had spent $20 billion on architecture stadiums and arenas for able teams. He characterized organized sport’s position as, “Give us the money, but don’t ask us what we do with the money.”
The affection was annihilation like the testiness at the March 17 audition by the House Board on Government Reform. Selig had gone in abominably prepared, aggravating to get by with sentimentalities and generalities. And Fehr had done his accustomed civil-liberties act to awning up for steroid abusers.
Ultimately, Selig and Fehr were the big losers, because the subcommittee got into the act. Like their colleagues in March, these legislators fawned a bit too abundant on celebrities yesterday. Don’t they apperceive that annihilation is added arid than somebody activity on and on about what aggregation he roots for? Just address a bill.
Even admitting the added commissioners and abutment leaders say they can action performance-enhancing drugs on their own, they charge face the absoluteness that federal legislation will be the amount all sports pay for baseball’s steroid opéra bouffe of the accomplished decade.
Bud Selig, however, has apparent the light. Yesterday, he said, “I would not abide federal legislation if Congress continues to accept that a compatible accepted is necessary.”
He articulate about relieved. The anticipation of legislation has set him free.
Sports of The Times E-mail: [email protected]
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