World Anti-Doping Agency knew about Russian Olympic doping, did nothing

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There was a time, not too long ago, when anti-PED folks chided Major League Baseball for its allegedly unserious approach to drug testing and enforcement. Many of them, including columnists and so-called anti-doping experts, said that unless and until MLB adopted the same standards as groups like WADA, the World Anti-Doping Agency, or its U.S. counterpart, USADA, it was signaling its intent to look the other way. Some even suggested that baseball let WADA or USADA simply take over baseball’s anti-drug efforts.

Many of us scoffed at such suggestions for a lot of reasons, not the least of which being WADA and USADA’s standards seemed unrealistic for professional baseball and, well, the fact that those organization’s have a historic penchant for seemingly spending more time on self-perpetuation than anything else.

But I guess there was always the fact that they’re crazily ineffective too, as this article in The New York Times makes clear. Specifically, in 2012 a Russian Olympic athlete sent a letter to WADA blowing the whistle on fellow Russian Olympians’ drug use, with names, dates and specifics. What did WADA do?

WADA, the global regulator of doping in Olympic sports, did not begin an inquiry, even though a staff lawyer circulated the message to three top officials, calling the accusations “relatively precise,” including names and facts. Instead, the agency did something that seemed antithetical to its mission to protect clean athletes. It sent Ms. Pishchalnikova’s email to Russian sports officials — the very people who she said were running the doping program.

Baseball’s anti-doping efforts haven’t always been fantastic, and its habit of cooperating with drug dealers in order to go after users in far harder fashion has never been the best look. But it’s damn sight better than punishing whistleblowers and letting drug use it knows about go unexamined and unpunished for several years, resulting in scandal.

Brewers have 3 positive COVID tests at alternate site

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
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MILWAUKEE — The Brewers had two players and a staff member test positive for the coronavirus at their alternate training site in Appleton, Wisconsin.

Milwaukee president of baseball operations David Stearns confirmed the positive results Saturday and said they shouldn’t impact the major league team. Teams are using alternate training sites this season to keep reserve players sharp because the minor league season was canceled due to the pandemic.

Stearns said the positive tests came Monday and did not name the two players or the staff member. Players must give their permission for their names to be revealed after positive tests.

The entire camp was placed in quarantine.

“We have gone through contact tracing,” Stearns said. “We do not believe it will have any impact at all on our major league team. We’ve been fortunate to get through this season relatively unscathed in this area. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get all the way there at our alternate site.”

Milwaukee entered Saturday one game behind the Reds and Cardinals for second place in the NL Central, with the top two teams qualifying for the postseason.

The Brewers still will be able to take taxi squad players with them on the team’s trip to Cincinnati and St. Louis in the final week of the season. He said those players have had repeated negative tests and the team is “confident” there would be no possible spread of the virus.

“Because of the nature of who these individuals were, it’s really not going to affect the quarantine group at all,” Stearns said. “We’re very fortunate that the group of players who could potentially be on a postseason roster for us aren’t interacting all that much with the individuals that tested positive.”