Every time a player gets caught using performance-enhancing drugs, it leads to a discussion about whether or not the punishment is harsh enough. On paper, being suspended for a third of the season for a first offense and more than half of the season for a second offense sounds pretty significant. Baseball has a 162-game season, so players who test positive lose a lot of time and money — not to mention the hit to their public image. Former home run king Hank Aaron doesn’t think it’s enough.
“I think it’s got to be a little bit more severe as far as penalties are concerned,” Aaron said at a benefit for his charity on Wednesday according to FOXSportsWisconsin.com. “I think 50 games is not enough. I’d like to see 100 games really. I think the second time, they need to just ban the player from baseball.”
Contrary to what the founder of BALCO would like you to think, I have trouble believing that steroid use is still as rampant across Major League Baseball now as it was five to 10 years ago. Unless pitchers are now the most frequent users, there’s a reason we have seen a noticeable spike in no-hitters and perfect games over the past two or three seasons.
As someone who had to watch Barry Bonds break his home run record, we can understand why Aaron feels like the punishment handed out to guys like Melky Cabrera is not enough. Other old timers like Kirk Gibson agree with his stance. While I feel that 50 games is a significant enough suspension for a first offense, I find it tough to disagree with Aaron about repeat offenders. People make mistakes and have lapses in judgment. Using PEDs after you’ve already been caught using PEDs is an entirely different set of circumstances.