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Testimony On Steroids In Baseball Is Questioned

Publication Date: 
June 09, 2008
The New York Times
Michael S. Schmidt

Professor Deborah L. Rhode is quoted in The New York Times in a story about the ongoing steroids scandal in baseball, and whether some of the test results have been accurate or not:

When baseball and union officials appeared before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on March 17, 2005, they presented figures that showed that baseball’s two-year-old testing program had substantially reduced the number of positive tests for performance-enhancing drugs. According to the figures, the number of players who had failed drug tests in 2004 had dropped to about a dozen from about 100 in 2003.


At the heart of the issue is the fact that the committee was not told that the 2004 testing, with its significantly lower positive test results, had been partly shut down for much of that season, what Selig’s office later called an emergency response to an unforeseen situation. Specifically, the shutdown arose from the federal investigation of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative steroid ring.

As a result, players who apparently tested positive in 2003 were not retested in 2004 until the final weeks of the season, and might have been notified beforehand, perhaps skewing the overall test numbers for that year.


“Congressional committees tend to give parties the benefit of the doubt if they are forthcoming and upfront about problems they may have,” said Deborah L. Rhode, a professor of law at Stanford University and the general counsel to the House Judiciary Committee during the impeachment hearing of President Clinton. “Like anything, it is always worse when other information comes out later.”