BIDEN: Strike Out Steroid Use in Baseball
Biden Responds to Mitchell Report on Performance-Enhancing Drugs in Baseball; Calls on DOJ to Investigate and Follow-up on Report's Allegations
Following today's release of former Senator George Mitchell's report on the use of performance-enhancing drugs in baseball, Chairman of the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control Joseph R. Biden, Jr. (D-DE) expressed his frustration with the baseball commissioner's office and the players for failing to implement an effective and comprehensive drug testing program. Senator Mitchell led a 20-month investigation on performance-enhancing drugs in baseball and today released an extensive report detailing his findings.
"We've been down this road before," said Sen. Biden, also Chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Drugs. "Sen. Mitchell's report today confirms our ongoing suspicion that baseball's leadership has not taken the necessary steps to end steroid use. This report makes clear that baseball's existing drug testing scheme isn't working."
Sen. Biden authored the 1990 law making steroid trafficking illegal. In 2004, Sen. Biden's Anabolic Steroid Control Act was signed into law. The legislation added 18 substances to the list of banned anabolic steroids, including androstenedione (also known as "andro") and tetrahydrogestrinone (THG). Sen. Biden's measure also provided funding for education programs to teach kids about the dangers of steroids and called for criminal penalties for those caught making, selling, or possessing these substances.
Following rebukes from Congress, in 2005 Major League Baseball announced a "three strikes-you're out" steroid policy: a 50-game ban for the first offense; 100-game ban for the second offense; and you're out of Major League Baseball if you're caught three times. Months after this new policy went into effect, baseball Commissioner Bud Selig appointed Sen. Mitchell to conduct an investigation on performance-enhancing drugs in baseball. Through extensive interviews with former players and other knowledgeable sources, Sen. Mitchell linked dozens of players to steroid use.
Steroids are a shortcut for athletes to increase muscle mass and improve recovery time. But they can also be a shortcut to serious health problems, putting people at greater risk for heart attacks and strokes, increasing aggressiveness, stunting growth and leading to liver and kidney damage.
"We have worked hard over the years to make these dangerous drugs illegal," said Sen. Biden. "The Mitchell report nonetheless concludes that steroid use in professional baseball has been widespread. If crimes were committed, then they should be prosecuted. I call on the Justice Department to investigate and follow-up on the information and allegations contained in today's report."