World anti-doping agency doctor weighs in on what drives MLB players to cheat

Posted at 8:17 PM, Jun 05, 2013
and last updated 2013-06-05 20:21:08-04

THE BRONX (PIX11) – On Wednesday afternoon in the Bronx, fans flocked for a match-up between the Indians and Yankees.

The talk amidst fans walking in still focused around an ESPN report from less than 24 hours earlier.  The bombshell feature detailed a potential 100-game suspension for Alex Rodriguez.

Fans expressed their disappointment by allegations that the slugger  has been caught cheating again, “It does bother me because it’s an unfair advantage.  They are gaining the advantage by being deceitful, not playing by the rules,” said one fan who drove in from Connecticut.

The 37-year-old Rodriguez, who has been out all season while recovering from hip surgery, is reportedly being penalized for his alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) through a Miami based anti-aging clinic.  However, the question on the minds of most, was why would A-Rod — who has fame, women and millions — allegedly cheat again?

“I think the driving force, particularly as it relates to  professional sports, is a five letter word called money, M-O-N-E-Y,” said Dr. Gary Wadler Chairman of the Prohibited List and Methods Committee for the World Anti-Doping Agency.

Dr. Wadler, who has testified before Congress, told PIX 11 News out of his Manhasset office that PEDs along with other banned supplements have become so prevalent that they are on the brink of saturating society thus making them a non-issue, “My biggest concern about all of is that we succumb to what I call doping fatigue. People are tired of watching TV stories about doping, picking up their local paper and reading about doping. People want to see sports.”

Leagues like the NBA which is housed on 5th Avenue and the NFL a few blocks away on Park Avenue have never had scandals anywhere near what baseball has experienced.

Why is that?

Wally Matthews, Yankees beat writer for ESPN New York has a theory, “I don’t think the league or the fans of football care all that much about steroid abuse because it’s not based on individual accomplishment. You got your quarterbacks and running backs who will run up numbers. Most of steroid users I would guess are linemen and linebackers. There is just no quantifying thing where you can say ‘Hey this doesn’t make sense, this guy had 100 sacks and the previous record was 19?’ So I don’t think you can’t put a finger on it and say ‘aha’ there is the effect of steroids.”

Yet in baseball individual accomplishment meant something in the past.  A trip to the Hall of Fame translated to eternal glory.  However, Matthews says that like the game itself, priorities appear to have changed as well, “I think thy if you asked most of them ‘What would you rather be independently wealthy or in the Hall of Fame?’ I think most would take the money.”