Major League Baseball just handed down season-ending suspensions to 12 different players, as well as a 211-game suspension to Alex Rodriguez, but one MLB player believes the punishments were too light.
Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis believes the only way for Major League Baseball to truly eliminate performance-enhancing drug use is to hand down harsher penalties, suggesting that first-time offenders serve a five-year suspension.
“No ifs, ands or buts about it,” Markakis said during an interview with The Baltimore Sun. “These guys are big boys; they can make decisions. If I go out there and rob a convenience store, I know the consequences that are coming with it. We are all adults here.”
The outfielder also went as far as saying he would “100 percent” support a proposal from MLB and the player’s union to give lifetime bans to anyone caught using PEDs. While Markakis says he is appreciative of the measures MLB has taken to eliminate PED use, he also says they could be doing more to enforce their anti-drug policy, including more frequent blood tests.
“I don’t know if any of my teammates have, but I haven’t,” Markakis said when asked about blood testing. “As part of the collective bargaining agreement, [MLB has] that opportunity. And I don’t know why they haven’t or what the deal is with it. But I think they need to take a better look into it and start going forward with what they say they are going to do. Saying something is one thing, but doing it is another. … I’d give blood every day if I had to. The overall deal is that this is bad for the game.”
2013 was the first year in baseball history that blood testing was permitted, and Markakis says that the increase in testing coupled with stiffer penalties can take away the dishonesty in the game.
“These guys that are doing performance-enhancing drugs are taking away from a lot of other people that are doing it the right way. They are taking opportunities away and they are basically stealing,” Markakis said. “Stealing money away from owners because they are basically purchasing damaged products. It’s not a good situation all the way around. And all of us that have done it the right way, we are going to suffer and have to answer questions about this for a while now. I think that puts us in bad situations that we don’t deserve to be in.”
Markakis, who was selected in the first round by the Orioles in 2003, is hitting .286 with a .341 on-base percentage, eight homers and 45 RBIs on the season.