The report from former Sen. George Mitchell on performance-enhancing drug use in Major League Baseball outlined a general road map for improving baseball’s drug testing system, but prescribed no timetable and few specific directives, says the Washington Post. Significant details were left to be hashed over by baseball’s ownership and players’ union, the entities blamed in the report for responding slowly and ineffectively to the game’s steroid crisis from the outset.
Some anti-doping experts noted that even if all of the recommendations were adopted, baseball’s program still could fall short of international standards. Several expressed doubt that meaningful changes would occur — particularly given the public preoccupation with the names of the dozens of players implicated in the report. The current system remains far from meeting the international norms advanced by the World Anti-Doping Agency, a quasi-governmental organization that oversees international anti-doping efforts and promotes uniform rules and penalties for doping violations. Robert Weiner, a spokesman for former White House drug policy director Barry McCaffrey who has remained outspoken on doping issues, called baseball’s existing anti-drug policy “a sham” and added that it “will remain weak under Mitchell’s proposals.” Commissioner Bud Selig said baseball would immediately eliminate the 24-hour advance notice in its testing program, which critics have said allows players time to expunge drugs from their system.