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[MLB] McCain to take on steroid use?


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Dec. 13, 2004. 08:42 PM

McCain has hope for steroid policy

PHOENIX (AP) ? Sen. John McCain is "guardedly optimistic" that major league baseball and its players could reach an agreement on tougher testing for steroids.

McCain, who has threatened to propose federal legislation that would override the drug-testing provisions in baseball's collective bargaining agreement, said Monday that he spoke with union head Donald Fehr last week and thought something could be worked out.

Major league players told their lawyers last week to work toward a new agreement with owners on tougher standards.

In an interview with The Associated Press, the Arizona senator said any agreement would have to win approval in the court of public opinion.

"It would have to be credible, frankly, with the media,'' McCain said. "It would have to be, at a minimum, the same standards they propose for the minor leagues ? things like off-season testing, frequent testing, and testing for substances that are not now known.''

Commissioner Bud Selig repeatedly has called for more frequent testing and harsher penalties for steroid use, stepping up the intensity following reports of grand jury testimony in a steroid investigation that includes Barry Bonds, Jason Giambi and Gary Sheffield.

"We'll let baseball fans and the sports writers sort out what kind of conditionality would prevail on records that are set by people who allegedly ? I emphasize allegedly ? use performance enhancing substances," McCain said.

In 2003, anonymous tests were conducted as a survey, and 5 to 7 percent came back positive for steroids.

"It's not simply a labour-management issue," McCain said. "If you ask any high school coach in America, they'll say high school athletes are tempted to use these performance-enhancing drugs because they think that's the only way to make it to the major leagues.''

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