This unfortunate suggestion that baseball players and all other pro athletes have to suck it up and should give up their right to privacy in order to submit to regular blood tests for any sort of “public good” needs to die a very quick death. I’ve written about this before, but it keeps surfacing: Eric Kaselias adopted it while subbing for Mike Greenberg today (thanks, D-Wil), and Skip Bayless, the target when I wrote the prior entry, decided to spew the same stuff again.
Let us take down the rationales for such a policy:
- The “privilege” of making millions in pro sports: You know what players do to earn that privilege? They put their bodies through intense workouts for years, focus on very little outside of their chosen sport for years in service to Rhoden’s Conveyor Belt, and if they are good enough to make a roster, earn a paycheck doing what they are good at. All arguments about the “privilege” ignore how much work goes into becoming good enough to play professionally.
- “For the children” arguments: I get so tired of these. Essentially, this one boils down to, “Since children idolize athletes, we should have the right to demand testing to ensure they’re all clean.” It’s a ridiculous argument. Teach your children to idolize someone else.
- Sports leagues in the pros are private corporations, with unions: Drug testing issues are almost always negotiated when there is a union. This is no different. Demanding weekly blood tests be “imposed” speaks to a clear anti-player bias.
- You are dealing with people’s medical privacy. Such testing and release of information policies would violate constitutional rights and doctor-patient privileges already established. Start that for pro sports and who knows how far it goes.
Again, if professional sports leagues want such draconian policies, let them negotiate with the players for them. Many of the players may be more than willing to agree to testing policies that come closer to that standard, but imposing them is a joke.