Several years ago, in the wake of the Mitchell Report’s damning conclusions regarding baseball’s internal drug control policies, Major League Baseball founded its Department of Investigations.
The DOI’s specific mission: “primary responsibility for conducting all investigations into violations of Major League Baseball’s rules and policies, including investigations related to the use, possession or distribution of performance-enhancing substances by Major League or Minor League players, and other threats to the integrity of the game.”
That seems pretty comprehensive! Which makes this news from T.J. Quinn of ESPN, spinning out of a documentary alleging that Ryan Howard, Ryan Zimmerman and other athletes took performance enhancing drugs, somewhat confusing:
Major League Baseball has asked the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency to help its investigation into whether several players named in an Al Jazeera documentary received banned drugs.
The USADA has no authority over Major League Baseball. Much to the chagrin, it should be noted, of the USADA, which sought unsuccessfully for years to bring the major U.S. professional sports under its purview. The leagues and the unionized players who would be subject to its authority, however, rejected the notion and entered into their own drug program with the league. Now, however, they are bering brought on board. Given that the USADA is not a party to the Joint Drug Agreement, if I represented the players involved here I’d tell them to tell any USADA investigators to pound sand if they came around to interview my clients. But that’s just me.
Of course, Major League Baseball’s Department of Investigations has its own problems, with its most high-profile investigation so far coming in the Biogenesis matter. There, you may recall, MLB investigators were accused of wrongdoing, ranging from entering into sexual relationships with witnesses to interfering with law enforcement operations by purchasing stolen documents. So, um, maybe they need the help of the USADA to save themselves from their own misconduct?
In any event, this looks like a case of the blind leading the unaffiliated in an investigation of the probably innocent who were accused by the soon-to-be-out of business. Which, to be fair, makes it no more ridiculous than any previous baseball drug case.