Count former Major League Baseball commissioner Fay Vincent among those who believe a lifetime ban would be just punishment for major leaguers who test positive for performance-enhancing drugs.
“I would throw anybody out of the game after a failed test,” Vincent told USA Today, in reaction to the news Tuesday that MLB was investigating what could blossom into a new steroids scandal.
Vincent led the investigation into Pete Rose’s gambling and became commissioner shortly after Rose was banned from the game in 1989. Vincent has maintained his stance that Rose should not be reinstated.
“People knew that if we can throw out a guy like Rose, who acted so arrogant, we can do it to anybody who gambles,” Vincent told USA Today. “So why not for steroids? Why give them three bites of that apple?
“(A lifetime ban) is a very effective deterrent. It’s like the Saudis cutting off an arm if you steal somebody’s wallet. You see one guy walking around without a wrist, it stops you.”
One problem with such a zero-tolerance policy is the possibility of banning a player who truly didn’t know he was taking an illegal substance. With more than 125 substances on the list of banned PEDs, it is possible.
“A lifetime ban is a really harsh outcome for violators that didn’t do it maliciously or with intent,” a long-time agent told Sporting News on Tuesday. “There are too many Latin players that have ‘taken’ these banned substances in things like cough medicine and bacterial creams in their countries.”