Braves outfielder Jeff Francoeur went on Buster Olney’s ESPN podcast on Thursday and said that he estimates 90 percent of major leaguers would like stiffer penalties for players caught using performance-enhancing drugs, as Jerry Crasnick notes.
“The system is flawed. There’s no other way around it. Guys get docked 80 games (pay) or whatever it is. Yeah, that’s a lot of money. But if you sign a $60 million deal and you’re losing maybe $5 million, it’s worth it for a lot of these guys. It stinks because there are buddies of mine who were basically battling these guys for jobs. It’s just unfair.
“I know a lot of guys that have been busted, and they’re good people. I like them a lot. But at the end of the day, they’re cheating the system.”
Major League Baseball’s drug testing program has levied increasingly harsh penalties for players who test positive. Currently, first-time offenders receive an 80-game suspension while second-time offenders sit out 160 games and third-time offenders are banned for life.
Per Crasnick, 57 minor leaguers and 12 major leaguers have tested positive since January. Two-time All-Star Dee Gordon is the highest profile player this year to get caught.
Francoeur realizes that, in asking for harsher penalties, he is putting more power in ownership’s hand, something which the Players’ Union wouldn’t like. However, he said, “I think we have to start listening to the majority of the players, and not the other way around.”
Francoeur also doesn’t buy the excuses of players who test positive and say they unknowingly took the substances. The outfielder said, “For me, the only thing I’ll drink is the protein shakes that MLB gives us. They tell us in spring training, ‘Don’t take it if it’s not certified.’ If you go to GNC and get some bogus stuff, how stupid can you be? That’s your own fault. (I hear players say), ‘I don’t know how this got in me.’ Well, watch what you put in your body.”