Steroid testing halted amid MLB lockout: report
MLB and its players’ union, the Major League Baseball Players Association, have halted steroid testing for players for the first time in 20 years due to the ongoing lockout.
The previous bargaining agreement, which ran from 2017 to 2021, included drug testing and said that both sides agreed on a provision that states “the termination date and time of the program shall be 11:59 p.m. ET on Dec. 1, 2021.”
The agreement also matches the expiration of the five-year labor contract between both sides as well, according to the AP.
MLB and its players’ union had conducted 47,973 tests during the four-year span, including 7,327 during the offseason, according to a November report from independent program administrator Thomas M. Martin.
“It should be a major concern to all those who value fair play,” anti-doping Agency CEO Travis Tygart told the AP.
“If it’s just a simple matter of agreeing to it,” Tygart added. “You would have hoped they would have been able to get that figured out, so that when the game does restart, you don’t have questions hanging over individual players based on size, speed, batting percentage, home run numbers, whatever it may be, that people are going to call into question again.”
This comes as the league and players’ union still remain far apart from reaching an agreement to end the work stoppage.
Last week, players rejected the league’s request that the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service assist with lockout talks, the AP reported.
In a statement to Politico on Monday, Labor Secretary Marty Walsh said he offered to help with ongoing negotiations.
“I have spoken to both the MLBPA and MLB about the ongoing contract negotiations and encourage both sides to continue engagement,” Walsh said. “Like any contract negotiation in any industry, I stand ready to help facilitate productive conversations that result in the best outcome for workers and employers.”
Recently, baseball greats Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens were denied election to the Baseball Hall of Fame due to repeated rumors of steroid and performance-enhancing drug use over their careers, the AP noted.