When former Biogenesis employee, Porter Fischer, first sounded the alarm that the company had supplied a list of MLB players with performance-enhancing drugs in 2012, the sporting world was well aware that there would be repercussions. What was not foreseen, however, was both the aggressiveness of MLB’s pursuit to penalize all guilty parties, and the frightening reality that the scandal that has plagued baseball will most likely shake the entire sporting community.
MLB swiftly launched an investigation in order to seek out players who had ties to the Biogenesis clinic, ultimately suspending 13 of them for a minimum of 50 games. Among the suspended were all-stars Jhonny Peralta, Everth Cabrera, Nelson Cruz, Ryan Braun, and baseball icon Alex Rodriguez.
It would appear that MLB commissioner Bud Selig sought to make an example of Rodriguez, as the Yankee third baseman was slapped with the heftiest suspension in baseball history with 211 games, which places the infielder out of commission until the 2015 MLB season. Rodriguez would not go down without a fight, immediately petitioning the aid of the Major League Baseball Players’ Association for an appeal. The MLBPA has supported Rodriguez, claiming that a suspension of that magnitude is unwarranted. In other words, the fallout caused by one of the largest scandals in baseball history now has the potential to place relations between the league and the player’s union on thin ice. This is a sizeable concern for a league that has its fair share of records tainted by substance abuse, past player lockouts, and lengthy CBA negotiations.
What makes the Biogenesis bug even more dangerous is the fact that it may be contagious. No sports league appears to be immune, and no athletes are out of reach. Fischer recently told Outside the Lines that Biogenesis had over a hundred clients using PED’s in the NBA, professional boxing, MMA, tennis, and even the NCAA. But the only thing more alarming than the news that the scandal extends further than baseball is the fact that the MLB is the only organization that has efficiently addressed the problem.
The NBA has a drug policy that is notorious for it’s gaps in testing, especially for HGH. Though the league intends to implement HGH testing for the 2013-2014 NBA season, the predicament may already be out of hand due to years of looking the other way.
The UFC, the largest MMA organization in the world, has also expressed fears of the Biogenesis scandal, as UFC President, Dana White, recently explained that he is blatantly unsure of how he would handle the situation should one of his fighters test positive during an Athletic Commission screening.
The International Tennis Federation has told reporters that they are taking Fischer’s accusations seriously, but have not released any information on any possible breaches of their anti-doping policy.
The NCAA and Boxing are possibly the most difficult sports to sanction, as neither appears to have a system that utilizes a uniform standard of drug testing. The NCAA leaves banned substance investigations to each of it’s individual members, and only aids in drug enforcement once a standard has been set by that school. Boxing, on the other hand, has no central governing body, which makes unified testing and discipline nearly impossible.
MLB is well aware of the long-term damages caused by PED usage, which is why they have chosen to publicly address the problem. Other sports leagues would fare well to learn from MLB’s tempestuous past, and to nip the growing problem in the bud, if only to ease the tensions of their fans. Unfortunately, for most spectators and clean athletes in sports other than baseball, it looks like dishonesty is trumping honesty, cheating is being brushed aside, and the Biogenesis scandal is being ignored. It may not be fair, it may be unjust, but it’s the truth, and the truth should not be ignored.