By Jonathan Danielson
In case you missed it, yesterday Milwaukee Brewers outfielder, Ryan Braun, became the Lance Armstrong of Major League Baseball. After getting caught taking PED’s two years ago (then getting off on a technicality), Braun went on a vigilant campaign of denials, lies, more denials, and then vengeful attacks on the credibility of people threatening to hold him accountable.
Braun lied to the league, his fans, baseball fans in general, and single-handedly ruined the life of the poor bastard responsible for taking his urine test.
However, because of MLB’s PED policy, Braun, like others before him, only proved one thing: In the MLB, cheaters do prosper.
For all the cheating, lying, then more lying, Braun only received a 65 game suspension without pay. From his standpoint, it was a no brainer; by confessing to cheating and taking the suspension now, he doesn’t have to take it next year, where he certainly would have received a 100 game ban. Instead, Braun only misses out on the $3.85 million he was due for the rest of the season rather than nearly the ten million it would have cost him in 2014. He gets to sit back and rest his hurt hand while his team continues tanking for better draft picks. Oh, and did I mention he’s still going to make nearly $10 million next year, even after everything he did?
That would almost be criminal, if there weren’t other circumstances to compare it with.
The MLB needs to do something to not just catch cheaters after they cheat , but discourage them before a needle over goes into a butt cheek. They need to stop the cancer before it spreads, because let’s be real, right now their current policy of
[Let out horses. Close gate.]
isn’t cutting it. Instead, there needs to be a hard rule and no exceptions. A rule every player knows, from little league until the day they get drafted until the day they get called up to the big boys. A rule with no and’s, if’s, or but’s.
The MLB needs to establish a “One-And-Done” zero tolerance program. Simply put, you get caught taking PED’s, congratulations, you’re banned from baseball. Your contract is void, you owe the team everything from the offending year, and that’s it.
Granted, will “One-And-Done” fix all the seasons a player probably cheated before getting caught? Nope, nothing will. However, if a player is banned, at least the league, the clean players, and the fans get to wipe their hands clean and move forward. Because of baseball’s guaranteed contracts, at least the cheating player won’t still make the $100 million dollars left on their contract when they come back.
Unfortunately, the MLB doesn’t have the cojones to implement such a plan, especially when they’d be fighting the most powerful
mafia player union in the world to implement it. While “One-And-Done” might sound logical, fair, and sound, it simply won’t make it in the current landscape. Concessions will need to be made.
Instead of “One-And-Done,” maybe the MLB could take these four humble options into consideration:
1. Eliminate 50 game suspension for first offense, 100 games for second offense, lifetime for third. Exchange with one calendar year suspension for first offense, lifetime ban for second offense.
2. No more guaranteed money, and allow teams to “option-out” of contract with suspended player. If a contract is negotiated when a player is hitting a juiced up .315, and 40 homers, that contract was negotiated under false pretenses. A team should have the right to terminate that contract and have first right to renegotiate.
3. Lifetime ban from the Hall-of-Fame after first offense. You cheat, you don’t get a bust.
4. Cheating player has to repay all money earned during season which PED abuse occurred.
Now aren’t these new rules perfect? Aren’t they so much more strict and will stop everyone from cheating?
These rules won’t do anything, just as the current rules aren’t doing anything. They’re a joke, and even after implementing them, more Ryan Brauns would only slip through the cracks and continue to steal unearned MVP’s from players who followed the rules.
Let’s face it, cheating players will always pay the fees for that competitive edge, to hell with a 50-game ban or not. It’s no big deal to them, because even after they’re caught, they’ll still get paid or just get another contract somewhere else. They’ll just keep playing and making more money, and they’ll use all that money to wipe their tears away after their feelings are hurt from everyone booing them.
While “One-And-Done” won’t solve everything, and won’t fix the records or awards a player earned while cheating, it at least won’t let a cheating player continue making the amount of cash they possibly would have if they continued playing baseball. They won’t be able to profit from it with big league contracts waiting at the end of suspensions. Instead, they’ll just make Pete Rose-type money from constantly signing balls in Vegas for drunk tourists. While that might still be a lot to you and me, it’s nowhere near the amount they’d be making if they were still in the league, and it wouldn’t be worth the same risk of taking PED’s. There would be no more guaranteed dollars at the end of only two months at home.
“One-And-Done” isn’t perfect, but let’s face it, a measly 50 games (or in Braun’s case, 65) isn’t doing anything at all. And until the MLB wants to get serious about cheating, Braun and other players will keep laughing all the way to the bank.