On the Dan Patrick Show Tuesday morning Bob Costas discussed the Ryan Braun suspension and floated an interesting idea that could dissuade future stars from cheating.
He suggested Major League Baseball change its punishment of PED users to a more severe two-step process:
- A first-time offence results in a 50-game suspension and a lifelong ban from ever being eligible for awards or All-Star Game appearances.
- A second-time offence results in a lifelong ban and a permanent bar from Hall of Fame candidacy.
It’s a cool thought. So much of the problem with Braun’s suspension is that he had little to lose. The Brewers are already out of contention for the playoffs and he will only lose $3.5 million from his $105 million contract.
Under Costas’ rules, Braun would have to carry a scarlet letter throughout his career that many admitted PED users have avoided.
On top of forcing a player to sit out, Costas’ rules would strike a PED user where it hurts most, his pride. No matter how well he plays following his suspension a cheater’s legacy would always be limited, and fans would be reminded of that every single year.
We have a paradoxical relationship with steroid users in sports. If a big time player owns up and gives a mea culpa, we let it slide. But point a finger like Rafael Palmeiro, or give a defiant press conference like Braun, and you are buried in the court of public opinion.
Costas’ idea would not prevent every player from cheating—no policy will—but it would strike fear in the heart of any player hoping to build a lasting legacy.
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