Proposal: Regulate PEDs like mortgage-backed securities.  Or something.

The legally-minded among you may find this interesting. It’s a law review article about the best way to go after PEDs in sports. From the abstract:

This Essay argues that performance-enhancing substance policy should be modeled after federal and state securities regulation. Instead of punishing use, regulators should require disclosure of all substances used, and punish only omissions and fraud of a material nature. The goals of a regulation regime would be better achieved without unintended negative consequences through a market approach based on minimum disclosure requirements.

I like anything that brings sense and reason to the PED debate — “wars” on drugs are, by definition, futile — but given how well securities regulation works in this country, I’m not sure the proposals here represent an improvement.

(link via Pete Toms)

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  1. John_Michael said...

    So those involved in professional sports would need to publically disclose their medical records? 

    Well, the disclosures could be kept sealed.  Like grand jury testimony…

  2. Jason B said...

    Bill – by “sports” I think you mean “baseball”.  *Nobody* even bothers to pretend that they’re a problem in football, even though their usage may be as or more rampant.

    I don’t know which I prefer – the rampant hysteria and demagoguery response that is typical in baseball circles, or the blind eye turned in football.  Can we meet in the middle?

  3. ta192 said...

    Interesting.  I have always felt that bribery should not be a crime, only the failure to report/disclose the bribe.  Always thought that would pretty much end the problem.  Somehow, I think the PED issue would wind up more complicated…

  4. Jim said...

    I haven’t bothered to read the actual article, but I am a securities lawyer.  The essence of securities regulation in the US is the presence of a voracious plaintiffs’ bar:  if you commit securities fraud, somebody will sue the pants off of you and probably win.  Who would be running around suing Rafael Palmeiro for failing to disclose PED use?  And what damages would they be able to show?

  5. Mark C. O'Connor said...

    Legalized—or at least decriminalized—PEDs would be a good thing. Imagine if athletes had doctors, trainers, scientists, etc., that helped them use the drugs wisely. And that the drugs helped them stay healthy longer, recover from injury faster, and have a better old age. There’d be benefits for the rest of us, too! If I remember, athletes were many of the first guinea pigs on things like ACL and “Tommy John” surgery, LASIK, etc., now routine procedures available to everyone.

  6. Jason B said...

    MJ—that’s a perfectly reasonable response (re: Calvin Pace), because his actions (and subsequent suspension) are detrimental to the Jets team as a whole.  (Not saying that his *taking* steroids are or are not detrimental, but that the *suspension* hurts the team, which is a key distinction.)  But in baseball you get Plaschke-esque windbags railing against players on teams they know nothing about because they’ve ruined the precious ‘sanctity of the game’ or some such pompous nonsense.  And for what?  Were the Giants adversely affected by Barry’s big noggin’ getting on base 55% of the time and homering every nine at-bats?

  7. Bill B. said...

    Can we meet in the middle?

    I don’t think there is a need to meet in the middle. Sometimes people are just wrong. There is no reason why PED’s should be outlawed when athletes can still enhance their performance in other ways (weight lifting, protein shakes, vitamins, etc.) and harm their health in other ways (alcohol, thrill-seeking, poor diets, etc.).

    Similar to the pro-abstinence crowd, these people are just wrong about regulating PED use. Education is the best way to combat the negatives, as Mark O’Connor suggests above.

    It’s an egregious waste of taxpayer money to pursue any form of regulation, punishment, or even mere closure on drug use in sports. Somehow, we care what Mark McGwire was putting his body, but the poison that sits on pharmacy shelves nationwide is of no concern. Our priorities are all screwed up.

  8. MJ said...

    I don’t know which I prefer – the rampant hysteria and demagoguery response that is typical in baseball circles, or the blind eye turned in football.  Can we meet in the middle?

    I wouldn’t say that we turn a blind eye to football players usage of PED’s.  As a Jets fan I’m pissed that Calvin Pace was suspended for 4 games for violation of the drug abuse policy, I just don’t think he should be burned at the stake for his crimes against baseball (football) like some posters on CTB.

  9. Greg Simons said...

    So “99.9% of folks who go to a game don’t give a hoot” about players who aren’t willing to ingest potentially-damaging substances in order to compete with those who are?

    I guess I’m part of the 0.1%

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