Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire are two of the most famous players to have stepped onto a baseball field and have both had careers tainted by the use of performance enhancing drugs (PEDs).
Now you can add Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Braun and a handful of others who have recently all been banned by Major League Baseball for the violation of the league's drug policy. They were all of accused of taking PEDs at a biogenesis anti-aging lab in south Florida.
Amongst the others convicted were Texas Rangers' right fielder Nelson Cruz, Detroit Tigers shortstop Johnny Peralta and San Diego Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera. They, along with 9 others, have each been banned for a total of 50 games, equivalent to about one third of a regular season.
The heftiest bans came down on 2011 National league MVP Ryan Braun and three time American League MVP Alex Rodriguez. Braun has been suspended for the remainder of the 2013 season, while Rodriguez has received a 211 game ban which will see him miss all of this season and the 2014 season. 'A-Rod', 38, has just recovered from his second hip surgery and has missed all but a handful of the New York Yankees games this season. This ban is likely to bring down the curtain on the star third baseman's career.
Unlike the others however, Rodriguez has chosen to appeal his suspension, which will allow him to continue playing until the verdict of the appeal is decided. Many believe this is a ploy to try and play at least 15 games this season for the Yankees, entitling him to some if not all of the money remaining on his huge contract, which is still potentially worth another $34m.
The Yankees, who have publicly stated that they are trying to reduce their wage bill below $189 million per year to avoid the 2014 luxury tax agreed in the latest Collective Bargaining Agreement, will want to avoid paying Rodriguez the full amount.
To do so, they have delayed his return from the disabled list until recently in the hope that this ban will be implemented in time for his insurance to cover any time lost through injury.
Rodriguez's appeal is ongoing, but it is likely that another of MLB's superstars and potential Hall of Famers will have his career tainted by yet another drug scandal, highlighting the flaws in the league's drug policy and its inconsistency in implementing bans and testing players.
These bans will hopefully act as a deterrent for others, in an attempt to clean up a sport which always has a question mark over its head when it comes to the use of drugs. Better and more frequent testing is clearly required and Commissioner Bud Selig has taken the first steps in attempting to rebuild its reputation.
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