Why the MLB’s Players Union Agreed to More Drug Testing

When an association of any kind is faced with a tough decision, it’s important to think of the greater good. The Major League Baseball Players Association, a union that represents the interests of players, has taken this to heart by agreeing to additional drug testing for performance-enhancing drugs.

In light of other doping charges that professional sports have seen, it’s no surprise that many leagues and players’ unions are cracking down on testing players. But the Major League Baseball Players Association, which has faced a tougher time than most players’ unions in dealing with performance-enhancing drugs, recently agreed to allow more extensive testing of players throughout the season.

Way back when they were having a lot of problems I didn’t give them credit, but now they [deserve credit].

Previously, the league did urine testing for performance-enhancing drugs. The new rules expand to blood testing during the season in an effort to spot human growth hormone, also known as HGH.  Records will be kept of the players’ tests, and players will be tested sporadically for discrepancies in hormone levels.

The move gives the league an opportunity to improve the integrity of the sport after years of controversy, which may be just what it needs.

Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig praised the union in a recent Associated Press article, noting that the group has stepped up to the plate, so to speak, in relenting on drug testing. “Way back when they were having a lot of problems I didn’t give them credit, but now they [deserve credit],” Selig said.

Since implementing testing, major stars, including Manny Ramirez, have tested positive for steroids or other drugs and served suspensions as a result. But the testing process hasn’t been perfect: One player, Milwaukee Brewers star Ryan Braun, had a positive test for performance-enhancing drugs overturned on appeal.

Despite this, many players and coaches see the move towards testing as a positive move.

“We’re trying to keep the fans’ trust that what they are seeing is real. All I know is that the players and organizations welcome that, and I applaud them that we continue to make the situation more real,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter told the Baltimore Sun.

The move comes just as the Baseball Writers’ Association of America failed to choose any player for induction into the Hall of Fame, something that hadn’t happened since 1996.

When your association faces outside pressure to change its stance or approach, how do you balance your members’ needs, even if in the long run it might be better for your organization? Let us know what you think.


Chloe Thompson

By Chloe Thompson

Chloe Thompson is a contributing writer to Associations Now. MORE

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