MILWAUKEE — Commissioner Bud Selig defended baseball’s fight against performance-enhancing drugs on Wednesday, declining to discuss the recent suspension of Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun or whether other stars will also face penalties.
Braun was suspended for the rest of the season Monday, a total of 65 games, for violating baseball’s anti-drug policy. He is the first player to be punished as part of an investigation of the now-closed Biogenesis Clinic, which is believed to have provided performance-enhancing drugs to as many as 20 other players; a list that is believed to include injured New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez.
Selig said he could not discuss the ongoing investigation.
“Any comment from me is inappropriate, “Selig said. “People have been thorough. I said last week the process would be comprehensive, thorough, fair and we have spent thousands of hours doing these things. I appreciate all the players who have been complimentary of the process. We’re doing this in a very a disciplined, thorough, fair and sensitive matter.”
Selig said he was proud of baseball’s drug testing program. Since the program was first implemented in 2004, 32 major league players have been suspended for using banned substances. Three were suspended a second time.
In addition, 47 minor league players or players formerly in the major leagues have been suspended, including six repeat offenders.
“It took a long time,” Selig said. “I said we would aggressively enforce that program. Obviously if you have a tough testing program, you have to do that. Given the whole history and what we’ve accomplished; having the first testing program in baseball history — baseball didn’t have a drug testing program at any time in the ’80s when, and I will say this very candidly, we had a very serious cocaine problem. There were the Pittsburgh drug trials, 29 players were convicted, four went to jail and the union still wouldn’t agree to a program.
“So I’m proud of what we’ve done, we will continue to enforce the program.”
Selig, whose family owned the Brewers from 1970 until 2005, was at Miller Park to take part in a youth baseball program.