Orioles' Nick Markakis lays down the law, wants tougher PED bans
Performance enhancing drug use in baseball doesn’t affect the league leaders or the guys who are breaking records. Even if those guys get caught using PEDs, they’ll get their 50-game suspension and move on. It affects the guys who get caught in the middle of the pack on the leaderboards. Guys who, as long as PEDs are still being used, won’t get all of the recognition they may deserve.
It affects guys like Orioles outfielder Nick Markakis, who has a different idea about how PED use should be handled. Markakis told the Baltimore Sun that he’d like to see five-year suspensions for first-time users and more lifetime bans.
“No ifs, ands or buts about it,” Markakis told the Sun, according to Comcast Sportsnet. “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.”
Markakis laid it all on the line. He even offered to have his blood tested. He said he’s given urine samples, but doesn’t know why he’s never been blood tested. This is the first season that random blood testing has been a part of the MLB’s drug policy, and Markakis wants to know why it hasn’t been widely used.
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“I think they need to take a better look into it and start going forward with what they say they are going to do,” Markakis said. “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.”
Markakis obviously feels cheated by the players who have used PEDs.
“These guys that are doing performance-enhancing drugs are taking away from a lot of other people that are doing it the right way," Markakis said. "They are taking opportunities away and they are basically stealing. 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.”
But this isn’t just Markakis whining because he’s not considered one of the best in the league.
“I’m not ticked off that I didn’t go to the All-Star Game,” Markakis said. “There are always opportunities later on in life. I’m not necessarily mad about the All-Star Game, but I’m just disappointed in these players. This is a harmless game that has never done anything to anybody except be good to people. And you are going to go out there and cheat a game that is supposedly the national pastime?”
And maybe Markakis is on to something. Seeing such anger from a player who appears to be clean shows just how deep the problem runs in the MLB. With stricter crackdowns on PED users, the MLB could be a much happier place.