Baseball came down hard on Alex Rodriguez, seeking—and achieving--stacked suspensions for each violation of the joint drug agreement. But what if MLB is going about things all wrong? Scott Boras believes that to truly quash its drug problem, baseball needs to go after the dealers, not the users.
Boras, who was Rodriguez's agent until 2010, told Fox Sports:
"The integrity of the game is only partially served when a known pusher is exonerated, when the genesis of this entire problem is now given a forum and compensation and is not behind bars for the distribution and promoting the use of illegal drugs, not only to baseball players but all members of the sporting community and youth.
"If these individuals go free, it promotes behavior to create processes to distribute PEDs, knowing the league's focus is on the players, not on the distributors of drugs."
Boras is referring to Tony Bosch, the founder and director of a Florida clinic that supplied banned substances to at least 14 major leaguers. Baseball went after those 14 players, but it spent a reported $1.8 million on Bosch's legal fees and securities, dropped a lawsuit against him, and promised to speak on his behalf in any future criminal cases.
Bosch won. He made his money, getting a reported $12,000 a month just from Rodriguez, not to mention all his other clients. He escaped punishment. And notably, MLB's arrangement with Bosch allows him free rein to tell his story to anyone he wants—a clause specifically included so he can pursue book and movie deals. Is this just?
The conundrum—nail the dealers or the users?—isn't exactly like the government's failure of a War on Drugs, which only now is starting to come around to a more humane tack. MLB has collectively-bargained jurisdiction over its employees, whereas its response to PED suppliers is limited to civil action, like the "tortious interference" suit it filed against Bosch. Drug testing is one thing, but using a dealer as an informant to out his clients seems the exact opposite of basic enforcement strategy. The financial incentives of steroid culture aren't limited to bigger contracts.
This was a singular opportunity to go after a major PED hub. Instead, baseball picked on the spokes. MLB actively protected Bosch, even going so far as to purchase stolen evidence, a move that it knew would impede a government investigation of Biogenesis. The message could not be clearer: There will be no repercussions for supplying baseball players with PEDs. No one should act surprised when the next drug ring pops up.