The MorningCall.com (Lehigh Valley PA) carries an interview with Dr. Thomas Dickson, one of the medical experts at the 1999 planning meeting for MLB steroid testing. The doctor says there was planned incompetence at the time.
''I had been an Olympic-level drug tester for about 20 years,'' the 70-year-old doctor said from his office at OAA Orthopaedic Specialists in Allentown. ''I had been testing at the Olympics and also out of competition testing and events throughout the country. Having come from 20 years testing for the U.S. Olympic Committee and the NCAA, and after seeing baseball's presentation, they weren't testing anybody. It was not set up in a way that was going to catch anyone.''
With good reason. Major League Baseball's proposal included penalties so weak they would not be a deterrent, and the testing would be so infrequent and ineffective that players could take steroids in the offseason and get away with it. (Bonds, who faces arraignment Friday, has been charged with perjury as prosecutors say he lied under oath about steroid use.)
Planned incompetence...one of the reasons a huge drama will be played out in San Francisco over the next year, when baseball will be dragged through mud every trial day. If baseball -- the owners and the MLBPA -- understood that establishing the proper PED testing might avert a huge black eye when the widespread PED use surfaced, perhaps much of this embarrassment would have been preempted. (Then again, consider that baseball revenues remain strong.)
That leads to this comment on competent testing:
'[Professional sports in the U.S.] don't want to sign on [to WADA's policy] because it's tough, it's specific, and there are consequences,'' said Scott M. Burns, the deputy ''drug czar'' of the United States, who returned from a world conference for WADA last week.
''[Under WADA policy, drug-testing] can be monitored and people will be caught and cheaters will be exposed and punished,'' Burns said during a conference call. ''They don't want to be caught.