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Ex-Commissioner Fay Vincent: MLB’s Drug Program ‘Obviously A Failure’

'I Think Baseball Should Increase The Deterrent'
Bud Selig (credit: Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

Bud Selig (credit: Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (WFAN) – Major League Baseball is expected to suspend numerous players for their connection to the now-defunct Biogenesis of America anti-aging clinic this week.

Commissioner Bud Selig is planning to come down hard on alleged performance-enhancing drug users, and his predecessor, Fay Vincent, chatted with WFAN co-hosts Marc Malusis and Sweeny Murti on Wednesday to offer his take on the controversy surrounding the league.

It has been argued that there is simply too much at stake for the players as far as money is concerned, which is why the risk of taking drugs might be worth the reward. And until punishments are more severe, players are always going to try to cheat with PEDs.

Vincent agrees with that sentiment.

“I think that’s why this problem is so severe,” MLB’s commissioner from 1989 to 1992 told Malusis and Murti. “It’s so difficult because there are so many dollars behind the cheating, and that’s why I think the commissioner’s got to figure out a way. I think you probably have to attack it on a whole bunch of fronts. Some of it is education, some of it is the deterrent. I think baseball should increase the deterrent. This deterrent isn’t working.

“Suspensions and testing and the whole drug program that they’ve got is obviously a failure. It’s not working, and something has to be done to keep these guys from doing what they’re doing. The only way I can think to deal with it is to make the deterrents much tougher. It certainly works in the gambling world. Nobody misunderstands what it means to get involved with gambling in baseball.”

Though the circumstances are a bit different, Vincent has some perspective on this matter. He permanently banned former Yankees pitcher Steve Howe from the league in 1992 for repeated drug offenses involving cocaine and alcohol abuse.

“Steve Howe had eight drug violations,” Vincent explained. “There was no written drug policy in baseball. I threw him out for life. He had said to me (that) if he came back and got dirty with drugs again, I could throw him out for life. Of course he got caught buying drugs and I threw him out. And he contested it. He changed his mind, obviously. And that was a terrible mistake by the union. The union supported Howe.

“The union got the arbitrator to reverse my judgement and bring him back for one more time. It was really a disgraceful episode, and I think Bud has got the point. He’s got to come down very hard on this chemistry in baseball.”

When comparing today’s current issue of performance-enhancing drugs with that of gambling in baseball, Vincent admitted that PEDs are just as dangerous when it comes to the future of the league.

“I think they’re equally serious,” Vincent said at first. “I might argue, and I think I could argue, that the performance-enhancing drug problem is a much bigger threat to organized sports than even gambling. But it’s like arguing which is worse: brain cancer or stomach cancer. They’re both lethal, and both of these problems are intensively malignant, and you just can’t have either one of them around.”

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