Former drug czar tells baseball to follow Olympic drug-testing model

The Associated Press
Monday, March 21st, 2005 04:54 PM (PST)


WASHINGTON (AP) - Former White House drug czar Barry McCaffrey is urging Major League Baseball to adopt Olympic standards for drug testing and punishment.

"You cannot have the chickens guarding the coop. Baseball always has and still does," McCaffrey said Monday. "Baseball and all professional sports need to adopt the same anti-drug principles we pressed for in the Olympics - outside year-round random testing with accountability, openness and independence."

Rep. Tom Davis, whose House Government Reform Committee held last week's hearing on steroids in baseball, and Sen. John McCain said Sunday that if baseball doesn't change its drug policy, Congress could call in the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency to govern the sport's testing. The agency oversees drug testing and discipline for U.S. Olympic athletes.

McCaffrey, President Clinton's top anti-drug adviser, worked with USADA, the World Anti-Doping Agency and the International Olympic Committee to put together the Olympic drug-testing program.

The WADA code, followed by most Olympic sports, calls for a two-year ban for a first positive test and a lifetime ban for a second, unless there are mitigating circumstances.

Baseball's drug policy has a 10-day suspension for a first failed test. The original draft of the new agreement also included the possibility of fines instead of bans, but players and owners agreed to drop that provision after criticism from lawmakers last week.

"The penalties must also parallel the seriousness of those in the Olympics, if professional sports are to be credible," McCaffrey said. "Baseball has only done what it perceives is the bare minimum to escape public condemnation. In fact, they have actually only increased the ridicule against themselves by their proposal."

McCaffrey also called on baseball to add testing for amphetamines, Human Growth Hormone and EPO, or erythropoietin, an endurance-boosting drug.