Back in 2007 the NBA found themselves in the midst of a scandal that had the potential to destroy the sport. Referee Tim Donaghy was found to have been betting on basketball games that he himself had called. It was discovered that he had made calls in some games that had affected some of the point spreads. This was a serious problem for the NBA. More serious than the coverage it received in my opinion.
Why? Because this scandal challenged the integrity of the sport. If there are people in place that are actively looking to affect the outcomes of games, then what we are watching isn't genuine. It becomes theater. No better than professional wrestling. The NBA knew this and they acted quickly and removed Donaghy from the league and he has since served 15 months in jail for his crimes.
Luckily for the NBA this scandal was easily solved. A rogue ref (so we are told...I'm looking at you Joey Crawford) with a gambling problem isn't a systemic problem. MLB on the other hand has a much bigger problem on its hand. For the past 15 years baseball has had a major problem with PED's. And things just don't seem to be getting any better.
Both Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun are caught up in intense PED scandals. Two of baseball’s biggest stars have taken PED's. For years I thought this wasn't a big deal. But it is. When players are using any tactic to give themselves an unfair advantage over other players, it's serious.
I'm not sure what I find more shocking about these stories...The fact that MLB has kind of half-assed the response or the fact that even after 15 years of scrutiny and investigation players are STILL taking PEDs. That says to me they aren't taking the league seriously.
And to their credit, they shouldn't take the league seriously. MLB sat by and greatly benefited as Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds chased and broke home run records. The whole time their bodies turning into human bobble heads. MLB by not cracking down hard on those guys, essentially gave the green light to everyone to juice till their hearts content.
What's the solution here? MLB is putting in place some harsh suspensions that will include lifelong bans after the 3rd offense. This is a good start. Sadly, I think there are gonna have to be some lifelong bans. It's gonna take a huge statement to really change the perception that MLB is allowing this to happen. It's gonna take a big name banned from the sport. Let's all hope it doesn't have to come to that. For A-Rod's and Ryan Braun's sake.