In its righteous might, Congress is doing hearings right now on the use of Human Growth Hormone and other banned substances by professional baseball players. In the limelight are Andy Pettitte, Roger Clemens, and others. Congress is determined to get to the bottom of this and find out who is lying, who is using, and who is not.
Yada, yada, yada.
When you see these hearings on television, do they ever remind you of the McCarthy hearings back in the 1950's, even just a bit? Does the feeling come over you that perhaps Congress is going after the wrong people?
If these 'enhancement' drugs are illegal to use, why aren't the manufacturers and distributors of the products in front of Congress? If the drugs are supposedly restricted from public access, then how do players get them so easily?
We should stop blaming the players.
It was a natural consequence after the distribution of these drugs that some players might reach for them to improve or enhance their game. There is a tremendous pressure on players to win these days - at any cost. Winning is everything, and when someone is paying you three or four times the amount of money paid to a CEO of a medium-sized corporation - they are going to want results for that money. And this means WINNING.
When these drugs became available, a few players began to use them. As their play improved, the whole thing snowballed quickly, forcing other players to try the same thing. Imagine you are a pro player and suddenly you find yourself pitching against a guy who seemingly overnight became twice as strong as last year. You know he is using. Now you find yourself getting slammed on the mound by a guy who went to the next level by using these products.
So what do you do? Maybe you stay honest and continue getting slammed out there. Or...maybe you feel pressured into doing the same thing. Pretty soon scores of players, perhaps hundreds (no one really knows), are using.
You can either get out of the game, or have your place taken by an upcoming player who also uses. Not a good choice either way.
Congress is all screwed up right now. What they should be doing, instead of humiliating baseball players and ruining their careers is to go after the manufacturers and distributors of these substances. They should be questioning team owners, who unless they are totally blind and stupid, would notice pretty quickly that their players are using HGH. It's easy to spot when someone uses these drugs. If fans can see it from the stands, you can bet the owners and coaches see it, too.
Baseball has already instituted a policy of 50/100 game/lifetime ban on steroid usage, because of BALCO. Congress should force baseball to make testing universal and regular, instead of random, and leave it at that.
Instead, they make examples out of the players. They force lifelong friends and teammates to turn on each other like hungry wolves. It's disgusting, humiliating for the players, and an embarrassment to the game.
And it doesn't even solve the problem. It just makes it worse.