Superstar slugger Manny Ramirez was handed a 50 game suspension Thursday for violating baseball’s drug policy. The suspension is costly to Ramirez, who failed a drug test after re signing with the Los Angeles Dodgers jerseys in the offseason for a $45 million, two year contract.
“I can only say to baseball that to me it demonstrates that they have given some recognition to the extent of the problem in their code,” WADA president John Fahey said following the agency’s board meeting Sunday.
Ramirez, a two time World Series champion with the Boston Red Sox jerseys, said he did not take steroids and was given medication by a doctor that contained a banned substance.
“I think there was a time when there was denial there, in fact it’s very obvious that they were denying that they had problems at all, and I can cheap authentic jerseys only encourage them to continue to deal with their problem, and drugs in their sport, with the right level of sanction that will deter and eliminate the difficulties that are there,” Fahey said.
Ramirez’s suspension is the latest in a series of embarrassing performance enhancing drug cases that have tainted the accomplishments of some of baseball’s greatest stars.
“If I was a parent I’d have to ask, ‘Is that the sport I want for my child?’ if that sport, whatever it is, is not taking a serious approach to cheats,” Fahey said.
Fahey added that he had noticed a decline in baseball attendance. The average crowd for 19 of the major leagues’ 30 clubs has dropped from a year ago and overall attendance is down 7 percent.
“I wouldn’t suggest that’s because they were a bit sick and tired of what’s happening with cheats in that game, but I’d say this in general terms to any sport that ultimately your supporters will desert you if the integrity of your sport is placed in doubt,” Fahey said.
“And I think the more they apply themselves to the problem, as they’ve demonstrated in the Ramirez case, the more integrity that will come into that sport.”
WADA’s executive committee approved an “enhanced version” of its data protection standard during the weekend meetings.
“The amendments were of a nature that clarified the concerns expressed by the Europeans,” Fahey said. “The standard that was adopted in fact last year and took effect in January of this year is really not altered in substance as a result of this.”
WADA will hold its next executive committee and foundation board meetings exceptionally in Europe, in honor of the 10th anniversary of its founding in Lausanne, Switzerland on Nov. 10, 1999. Sweden has offered to host the Dec. 1 and 2 meetings in Stockholm.
“Every time you deal with a cheat, you make another cheat think twice and sleep a little more uneasily,” Fahey said. “Over the next eight years anyone who cheated in the Olympics in Beijing may well still be picked up because samples are being kept and with the development of science and technology you can go back and further analyze and go again, and so nobody’s safe if they’re cheating any more and if they think they can get away with it, I think we’ve proved on a number of occasions that they can’t.”
Fahey did not expect any substantial cuts to the agency’s 2010 budget from its current year budget of $25.5 million as a result of informal discussions over the course of the weekend about the potential impact on the agency as a result of the global financial crisis.
“None of us are immune, be it governments or sport, to the impacts of the global financial crisis, but the sentiment that’s been strong in this informal discussion and straw poll has been this is of major importance to our nation, it’s of major importance to our sport, and there’s a fairly strong commitment there to ensure that I believe nothing drastic will occur with our budget going forward.”