FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Contact: Bob Weiner/Sasha Varghese/Taylor Jubanowsky  301-283-0821 or 202-329-1700




(Washington, DC) – Because of its "laughable" drug policy, "Baseball is the pariah of sports," Robert Weiner, former White House Drug Policy Spokesman 1995-2001, said today.  In a sports commentary in the Baltimore Sun today, "Baseball in Last Place on Drugs", Weiner and Sasha Varghese, Athletic Chair of the University of Virginia Lodge, assert, "The sport is being poisoned by illegal drug use for the sake of entertainment."

Weiner says that despite powerful actions against track and field athletes, "the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, Department of Justice, and Major League Baseball itself have yet to take action against big-time baseball players or trainers.Other sports bodies -- professional hockey, football, basketball, 30 Olympic sports, and the NCAA for example -- test for drugs and provide severe penalties for abusers… Baseball is the pariah of sports."

            Weiner asserts, "Baseball's deterrence is laughable. The players' union refuses to consent to strict prevention and enforcement. The first positive test results in treatment.  The second?  Up to a $10,000 fine (the big guns make millions so that's pennies to them) or a possible 15-day suspension.  #3 and 4?  25-50 days. The fifth?  A $100,000 charge or maybe a one-year suspension without pay," Weiner, who has also been the U.S. House Narcotics Committee's spokesman, contends.

            Weiner and Varghese point out, "This is a stark contrast to a two-year ban for most sports for first use, and a lifetime ban (with possible appeal for good behavior) in track and field."

In another oped today, in the Newark Star-Ledger, Weiner and Varghese say that "The bid of New York City and the U.S. to host the 2012 Olympic bid is on the line over how the United States handles the current drug scandal (involving several track and field athletes among others).  Whether it still exists and how and if we've cleaned it up will be big factors in the voting."  They quote IOC President Jacques Rogge, who has stated concerning the site selection, "One of the criteria is whether a country has complied with WADA (the World Anti-Doping Agency)."

Weiner and Varghese add, "The issue doesn't end with athletic icons: they are just the starting point.  Last year over a million American teenage boys and girls abused steroids -- a tripling over the past decade." 

"Using drugs to cheat is deplorable on any level -- in any sport.  That's the message kids need: not to be drugged-up gorillas pounding home runs," Weiner and Varghese assert.

Source: Robert Weiner Associates, Tel. 301-283-0821 or 202-329-1700.