MLB Doping Scandal, 2013 Edition

League and players in crisis management mode after new reports of PED use

Major League Baseball still hasn’t quite recovered from the scandals brought about by the steroid era. In fact, The Hall of Fame election earlier this month saw players like Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa turned down purely because of their association with performance enhancing drugs as voters sent the message loud and clear that they want to keep dopers out.

Of course, we talk about the steroid era like it’s in the past, but the multitude of suspensions last year, in combination with a new and extremely damaging report, indicate that era could still be continuing to this day.

Compelling evidence

Here’s a quote, from the Miami New Times article, written by Tim Elfrink, that may have blown the lid off yet another PED scandal:

…check out the main column, where their real names flash like an all-star roster of professional athletes with Miami ties: San Francisco Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera, Oakland A’s hurler Bartolo Colón, pro tennis player Wayne Odesnik, budding Cuban superstar boxer Yuriorkis Gamboa, and Texas Rangers slugger Nelson Cruz. There’s even the New York Yankees’ $275 million man himself, Alex Rodriguez, who has sworn he stopped juicing a decade ago.

Read further and you’ll find more than a dozen other baseball pros, from former University of Miami ace Cesar Carrillo to Padres catcher Yasmani Grandal to Washington Nationals star Gio Gonzalez. Notable coaches are there too, including UM baseball conditioning guru Jimmy Goins.

The names are all included in an extraordinary batch of records from Biogenesis, an anti-aging clinic tucked into a two-story office building just a hard line drive’s distance from the UM campus. They were given to New Times by an employee who worked at Biogenesis before it closed last month and its owner abruptly disappeared. The records are clear in describing the firm’s real business: selling performance-enhancing drugs, from human growth hormone (HGH) to testosterone to anabolic steroids.

If the information the New Times has uncovered is indeed accurate, and the paper has documentation to back up its claims, then MLB, and of course the players named, are about to once again find themselves under intense national scrutiny. Coming so hot on the heels of Lance Armstrong’s admission, the public is going to be especially brutal in its demand for honest answers.

The reaction

MLB officials have already trotted out the party line, stating they absolutely do not condone the use of performance enhancing drugs, and have gotten proactive as well, announcing their own investigations into several clinics in the South Florida area.

The players involved are doing their usual, which means lawyering up and vehemently denying any involvement. Of course, their credibility is just about zilch these days, especially considering several on the list have previously been caught using PEDs.

Crisis management advice

Our advice, especially to “brands” like A-Rod? Well, it’s really the same we would give to any CEO or celeb caught red-handed making the wrong decision – fess up.

You did it. Everyone knows, there’s proof, so just tell the truth. Don’t continue to drag your name, as well as the hopes, dreams and trust of fans, most importantly the little leaguers who look up to you, through the mud. Admit what you did was wrong, say you’re sorry and get to work on rebuilding your reputation. Work publicly with the league to better tighten doping controls, make a PSA for the kids, whatever you can do to help, but for goodness sake stop with the outrageous denials, we’re tired of your nonsense.

For more resources, see the Free Management Library topic: Crisis Management

By Jonathan and Erik Bernstein

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