by Suzie Raven
As Suzie Raven, an average citizen, I could face up to a year in prison or a $1,000 fine for possessing anabolic steroids without a prescription. As the catcher for the Washington Nationals, Paul Lo Duca faces community service and booing from the fans of his former team, the New York Mets.
Baseball's Commissioner Bud Selig constantly promises to dole out harsher punishments to players found guilty of steroid use. Earlier this month, the owners and players agreed to increased drug testing all year round. It’s the same story and the same hot air he’s been blowing ever since Lo Duca’s name was dropped all over the Mitchell Report (about steroid abuse in Major League Baseball) last December. Selig isn’t advertising a plan for punishing any players who test positive in the future, and he remains entirely unconcerned with those who have been caught in the past.
"It is time for the game to move forward," Selig said. "There is little to be gained at this point in debating dated misconduct and enduring numerous disciplinary proceedings."
Call me crazy, but this hardly sounds like someone who is cracking down.
There is Lo Duca’s community service, which will involve going to various schools to tell children why they shouldn’t do drugs. This begs the question: What will he say to the kids?
Perhaps his speech could go something like this: "Hi, I’m Paul Lo Duca and I’m here to tell you not to do drugs. Just look at my life. Everyone, including the U.S. Senate, knows I did drugs, and nothing bad happened to me. I didn’t go to jail, I didn’t lose my job – mostly, I just continued with life as usual. Yeah, the Philadelphia Phillies fans booed me, but they booed Santa Claus.”
Ah yes, I see how this helps the War on Drugs.
This isn’t even a slap on the wrist. Most of my childhood heroes played for the 1993 Phillies, but I never thought they should be immune from the realities the rest of us face. Yes, Lo Duca is a good ballplayer. I’m good at things too, but that doesn’t make me above the law. He shouldn’t be either.
(For more background on this issue, please see: "Baseball Controversy: Steroids, Canseco & A-Rod;" and "Barry Bonds and the Inevitable.")
(The photo of a vial of anabolic steroids is from the Drug Enforcement Administration — DEA — and is in the public domain.)
Paul Lo Duca
War on Drugs
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by Suzie Raven