January 16, 2008
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WADA Criticizes MLB and Union for Continued Evasion of Anti-Doping Reform

WADA Separates Fact from MLB Fiction and Calls for Real Action

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) laments Major League Baseball’s (MLB) and the Players Association’s (MLBPA) continued resistance to implementing meaningful anti-doping reform.

“Professional baseball’s response to Sen. Mitchell’s report is baffling,” said WADA President John Fahey. “To suggest that it might continue to keep its anti-doping testing program in-house, after 18-months of investigation led by one of the most respected individuals in modern public affairs who, in the final analysis, concluded that the league’s anti-doping testing program needs to be managed in its entirety by an independent third party, is demeaning to Sen. Mitchell and the Congressional Committees who view doping as a serious threat to public health.”

“Equally reprehensible is their blatant disregard for the truth,” continued Fahey. “Contrary to what they have told Congress this week, there is a reliable test for hGH; the storing of blood is practical, in Fact has been effectively in practice for some time in World Anti-Doping Code-compliant testing. It’s time to separate Fact from MLB fiction.”

MLB Fiction: There is no reliable test for hGH.

Fact:

  • A scientifically valid and effective test for hGH exists.
  • HGH testing has been applied at the Olympic Games.
  • Commercial kits are in development for future large scale testing.
  • MLB is aware of the reliable test for hGH, or at least, they have no excuse not to be aware of the test.
  • WADA, on several occasions over the past two years, has written to the MLB offering to host a meeting between WADA scientific experts and the MLB to update them on the science and to offer to work together should the MLB wish to join the effort to combat hGH abuse in sports.
  • With very little effort on their part and in very little time, MLB could make a very positive impact in the world of sport by cooperating with WADA.
  • For more information on hGH testing, click here

MLB Fiction: Storing blood is not practical.

Fact:

  • Freezing liquid fraction of blood (serum or plasma) is a scientifically acceptable solution that allows for the preservation of substances in samples for future testing and detection.
  • Research has shown that hGH is very stable in frozen serum or plasma.
  • WADA encourages anti-doping organizations under the World Anti-Doping Code to store blood samples when relevant.
  • Storing serum or plasma for future testing has a significant deterrent effect.
  • The World Anti-Doping Code makes it possible to open a disciplinary proceeding within eight years from the date an anti-doping rule violation occurred.
  • To not collect and store blood samples, when you have the resources and opportunity, is to essentially give players a free pass to hGH abuse.

MLB Fiction: The Current MLB testing program is “independent” enough

Fact:

  • The MLB testing program is not independent.
  • Independence can only be achieved through outsourcing the program to a third party.
  • Independence is necessary because it ensures that there is no conflict of interest and that accountability of all parties (including players and management) is upheld.
  • Accountability would ensure that no loopholes would exist to be exploited by management and players, such as the current system used to get around the amphetamines ban by making attention deficit disorder claims in order to have access to stimulants like Ritalin.

“This is a final crossroads for baseball, and Congress for that matter: the negotiations between the league and players association, that they say will be completed by March 1, must address these issues in full,” said Fahey. “Notwithstanding other recent initiatives by the MLB to address doping, such as the funding of anti-doping research, by not wholly embracing Sen. Mitchell’s recommendations, especially those regarding independent third-party testing and hGH testing, MLB and the MLBPA are essentially thumbing their nose at those who care about the integrity of the game and the millions of youth who are impacted by what the professionals do.”