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Baseball commissioner urges stronger penalties for drug-using players

Bud Selig, Commission for Major League Baseball, recently held a news conference at the Arizona Diamondbacks' spring training ballpark calling for tougher penalties for players who violate the league's drug agreement.

Selig's concern over the issue stems largely from last year's positive drug test for All-Star game MVP Melky Cabrera and allegations that players had received banned substances from a now-closed Florida anti-aging clinic.

Selig has not provided specific recommendations for toughening up the penalties. Back in 2003, the league started urine testing with an anonymous survey. Additional penalties were added the following year when a first offense resulted in treatment. In 2005, a 10-day-suspension was instituted. The current policy, instituted in 2006, calls for a 50 game suspension for a first positive test result; 100 games for a second positive test result, and a lifetime ban for a third positive test.

Selig particularly wants tougher penalties for first-time offenders. According to Selig, the number of players that violate anti-drug rules is very small, but enough that the league needs to take positive steps to combat it.

The player's union is reportedly willing to consider the prospect of tougher penalties, but not until after the 2013 season.

Drug charges can be disruptive and have serious consequences for anybody, but particularly for sports figures. Sports figures, like anybody else, deserve a strong criminal defense when they face drug charges. That said, it is not necessarily a bad thing that league is looking to ensure that players are being held accountable.

Source: 9WAFB, "Bud Selig calls for tougher drug penalties," Bob Baum, March 2, 2013

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