Friday, September 14, 2007

Unholy Players Union

The World Anti-Doping Agency is currently developing a blood test for human growth hormone, or HGH. The test is thought to be readily available in just a few months. At first glance, this is great news. However, the road to clean professional sports has a few obstacles, the biggest of which are the players unions.

Gene Upshaw, head of the NFL Players Union, has been quoted to say "There's no way I'm having my guys punched for a blood test every time they walk into a locker room”. Donald Fehr, head of the MLB Players Union, is also expected to try to block this new test. After all, who wants our players clean? Apparently these two men do not. Upshaw and Fehr will be heard using the word “protection” more than there are marks on Wilt Chamberlain’s bedpost. What they are protecting is the inevitable reality that many of their players will be suspended or banned when this new test comes out. This is more important to them than the integrity of the game. What is bound to happen is that Congress, once again, is going to have to get involved. This is a sordid state of affairs when the leagues themselves cannot be expected to police themselves. The actions of these union heads do have one silver lining though. We can now get off of Bud Selig and Roger Goodell’s back.
Throughout the steroids renaissance, Selig has taken most, if not all of the flack. He was in charge, and he should’ve of done something to prevent this. What could he have done? Any significant change that is overall for the good of the game but bad for the players cannot be conducted without the United States government getting involved. These players unions are preventing the fans from being able to watch any great tackle or long home run without thinking in the back of their heads, “I wonder if that guy is ‘natural’”.

Cheating has become the defining term in sports in the 21st century. Shawne Merriman, Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Rodney Harrison, Tim Donaghy and now even Bill Belichick. While cheating is nothing new, the next generation of competitive advantage is not something to simply toss out of the window. Don’t expect the union heads to do anything about it; it’s not their problem. That burden is laid by the feet of the commissioners, all of which we should owe an apology. Bud Selig has already said that he is all for a new blood test for HGH. He wants this all to go away. And while he is proactively trying to make changes to bring the integrity of the game back, men like Upshaw and Fehr just want it to go away. They won’t do anything about it though.

As a matter of fact, they are doing everything in their power to make sure the necessary changes are not rendered. It is time we bring pressure upon the people who are actually responsible for the ongoing bastardization of athletics. We cannot depend on the lowest rated Congress in history to do our dirty work for us. It is time we bring the hammer down on these unholiest of unions.


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