08/09/13 — Selig's chance to send strong message results in lazy pop-up

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Selig's chance to send strong message results in lazy pop-up

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on August 9, 2013 1:48 PM

Bud Selig had an opportunity to send a message rather than deliver slaps on the wrist to those who dared to spit in the eye of America's past time.

Commissioner of Major League Baseball, Selig was tossed a batting-practice fastball and had a chance to knock drug issues out of the sport.

He swung and missed.

MLB suspended 13 players Monday for their involvement with South Florida anti-aging clinic Biogenesis. Twelve players drew 50-game suspensions, while New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez received a 211-game sentence, which the MLBPA appealed on Thursday.

A former three-time American League MVP, Rodriguez has repeatedly lied about his steroid use. In 2009, the 38-year-old admitting to taking performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) while playing for the Texas Rangers during a three-period beginning in 2001.

Rodriguez can play while the suspension is under appeal and receive paychecks on a multi-million contract that goes through 2017.

The Rangers' Nelson Cruz and Detroit's Jhonny Peralta will miss 50 games. But they are eligible to participate in the postseason depending on the decisions of their respective clubs.

Cheaters like Rodriguez, Cruz, Peralta, Ryan Braun, Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and Roger Clemens have jeopardized the integrity of Major League Baseball.

Selig's punishments have provided no incentive not to use steroids. The players' union and owners need to clean up the sport by issuing harsher penalties.

First-time offenders should be suspended for the season. Second-time offenders should get a life-time ban. After all, Pete Rose received the life-time ban for gambling on baseball, which the union and owners undoubtedly said it damaged the game's integrity.

Drug policy violators should receive the same treatment.

Steroid users cast an inescapable shadow of doubt over their peers. Any time a relatively-unknown player has a power surge and rises among the league's leaders in home runs, the whispers begin. The American public is no longer shocked and has become desensitized when another player admits steroid use.

Selig needs to find a backbone.

And send drug users away from MLB parks.