The complex issue of drug testing in sport

  • Aug. 7, 2013 3:45 p.m.

There might be a feeling of smugness by the top rank of Major League Baseball and supporters of the game after Alex Rodriguez was suspended for 214 games for violating the league’s joint drug agreement.

In addition, several other players have agreed to 50 game suspensions for their part in the Biogenesis scandal but the interesting thing is, none of those players have tested positive for drug use.

Rodriguez was tested and apparently it was positive but that was never made public so we are not sure what to make of that case which was supposed to have happened around 2003 when A-Rod was a member of the Texas Rangers.

So what can we glean from all this information which has been dropped in the laps of baseball fans across North America?

Well, with the players who never tested positive but still accepted the suspensions we can only assume something was up and they’d rather it go quietly into the night.

All were convicted under some very good circumstantial evidence but the testing never caught these offenders.

So this does raise questions about the accuracy of drug testing and the claims from the people behind the testing about how infallible they are.

The urine samples required for this testing are anything but a fail-safe method as the tests are grouped together, then sent away to a lab which generally isn’t just down the road so what would be the chances of any of these samples getting mixed up, spoiled or even tampered with?

Well according to the drug testers, no chance at all.

Right, and Santa and the Easter Bunny are real.

There are many examples of positive tests which turn out to not be positive but unfortunately, the damage to the athlete’s career is done and the drug testers sweep it under the rug as an anomaly.

Lance Armstrong never had a positive test but we all know how that went. He was one of the biggest offenders to not have been caught right away.

So before we wave the flag and cheer loudly for testing catching the cheaters in MLB or any other sport, we need to really take a long hard look at the science of drug testing or maybe just drop the whole thing and let things play out.