Vaughn: Punish teams, not just players who cheat

Vaughn: Punish teams, not just players who cheat

Vaughn: Punish teams, not just players who cheat

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by Doug Vaughn / News 4 Sports

KMOV.com

Posted on August 16, 2012 at 12:47 PM

ST. LOUIS (KMOV) -- Melky Cabrera of the San Francisco Giants has been suspended for 50 games for testing positive for testosterone. That’ll cost him more than million dollars in salary, and no doubt many millions more when he hits the free agent market.

The Giants should be punished too.

It’s not enough that they just lose one of their best hitters. By cheating, Cabrera helped the Giants remain in contention for the National League West title. If he hadn’t hit .346 this season maybe the Giants aren’t anywhere close to the top of the division. In cases this like I believe the team should have to forfeit a pre-determined number of victories. Ten games seems about right. Take ten victories away from the Giants and count them as losses.

Wouldn’t that be a more appropriate punishment for teams that harbor cheaters? What motivation did the Giants have to turn in Cabrera, or make sure he didn’t take the illegal synthetic testosterone? None. In fact, they greatly benefitted by having Cabrera take the drug and improve himself as a player.

Make the teams pay the price for having cheating players. In this case, that price would likely be millions of dollars in lost ticket sales at the gate for a team that would no longer be in contention, and possibly also the loss of playoff revenue.

Victor Conte, the founder of BALCO who spent time in prison for distributing steroids, says by his estimate about half of the players in major league baseball are taking performance enhancing drugs. He says the use of synthetic testosterone is rampant, including by some of the top names in the sport. Testosterone helps build muscle mass quickly and aids in recovery time for athletes. The side effects include risks to the liver, heart and circulatory damage.

It’s clear the players aren’t going to do anything to police themselves. The players union will likely continue to do whatever it can to protect its members. Until the teams start paying a heavy and costly price for using players who cheat this problem probably won’t ever go away.

 

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