Victor Conte had nothing to do with Marlon Byrd’s PED suspension

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When Marlon Byrd was suspended yesterday a lot of people immediately looked, so to speak, at Victor Conte. Conte being (a) Byrd’s supplement guru; and (b) the guy behind BALCO, Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Marion Jones and all the rest.

“I didn’t have anything to do with this,” said Conte when reached for comment.  Yeah. Sure. Just what a dirty ex-con drug dealer would say! Get ’em, boys!

Oh, wait:

“Victor had nothing to do with this,” Byrd told USA TODAY Sports in a text message. “He didn’t know about me taking tamoxifen or the positive test until two days ago” … The drug was supplied by a holistic lifestyle coach, Conte said, that Byrd declined to identify.

Byrd has taken a lot of crap over the years for working with Conte. But dude, he should be under WAY more scrutiny for listening to something called a “holistic life coach.”

MLB orders Josh Hader to sensitivity training, participation in diversity initiatives

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Major League Baseball released a statement about Josh Hader a few minutes ago. Here it is in its entirety:

“During last night’s game we became aware of Mr. Hader’s unacceptable social media comments in years past and have since been in communication with the Brewers regarding our shared concerns.  After the game, Mr. Hader took the necessary step of expressing remorse for his highly offensive and hurtful language, which fails to represent the values of our game and our expectations for all those who are a part of it.  The Office of the Commissioner will require sensitivity training for Mr. Hader and participation in MLB’s diversity and inclusion initiatives.”

People can parse Hader’s apology if they want to — I wrote about what I feel like Hader needs to say and do to show that his tweets truly are not representative of who he is now — but this is probably about as well as Major League Baseball can do with this. The tweets in question occurred years ago, before Hader was in professional baseball. They even occurred before Major League Baseball had a formal social media policy. MLB attempting some sort of way-after-the-fact punitive action on Hader like a fine or a suspension would (a) be met with some understandable resistance by Hader and the union; and (b) would look more like the league trying to deal with a P.R. crisis more than dealing with the player.

That being said, the sensitivity training and diversity initiative participation makes loads of sense. If, as Hader said last night, he’s a different person now than he was back in 2011-12, he should embrace such activities. They’re positive ones and, hey, who couldn’t use a brush-up? If his claims of being a changed man were merely a reaction to a social media firestorm, well, that’ll be dealt with pretty well in those arenas as well. Either way, this gives Hader an opportunity to put his money where his mouth is.

If you think making Hader do such things is “punishment,” well, that opens up another conversation altogether I suppose.