The League

Mark Maske
Staff Writer

Mark Maske

Writes the NFL News Feed blog

NFL Made an Effort

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The difference here is simple.

Years ago, football did something about steroids. The NFL put a testing program in place and did what it could to punish those using performance-enhancing drugs.

Baseball did nothing. It didn't having a testing program and it didn't punish those using steroids.

That's the scandal.

That's why the problem has been so much bigger in baseball.

It's not that there haven't been NFL players using performance-enhancing drugs. Clearly, there have been. Suspensions continue to be handed out.

One thing that has been demonstrated over time is that the science of cheating almost always is ahead of the science of detection in this arena, so the sports leagues and the agencies doing the policing are playing a constant game of catch-up.

The only difference is that football tried its best years ago to do what it could. Its system isn't perfect; no system is. But at least the NFL tried.

Baseball only began trying its best after being forced to do so by Congress, aggressive law enforcement and public pressure.

There are other aspects to it, like the public's expectations about the two sports and the sanctity of statistics in baseball. Those are factors. But the biggest factor, by far, is the differing approaches to testing and discipline taken years ago.

By Mark Maske  |  February 9, 2009; 11:45 AM ET  | Category:  Steroids Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Comments

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I factor in Footballs favor is that the players who have caught and suspended are usually not potential hall of famers or record setters. So they don't get the attention of many baseball players.

If someone like Brett Favre, Portis, Willie Parker were suspected of steroids then it would be a bigger story.

Baseball was really negligent in not considering steroids a health issue.

Posted by: Pensfans | February 9, 2009 12:36 PM

@Pensfans:

Shawne Merriman (a local guy), who many consider one of the best LBs in the game, was suspended 4 games in 2006 for testing positive for steroids but went to the Pro Bowl and nearly won Defensive POY that year.

Brett Favre became addicted to painkillers in the late 90s while in the middle of his consecutive games started streak, and the public reaction was "Aw, poor Brett." I wonder what the public reaction would have been if Cal Ripken had come out in 1991 after his second MVP season and said how he was popping vicoding 10 times a day.

Posted by: DuckSnort | February 10, 2009 8:42 AM

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