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White Sox steroid testing controversy

March 11, 2003 at 5:25 PM   |   Comments

TUCSON, March 11 (UPI) -- The Chicago White Sox's first day of steroid testing reportedly has resulted in controversy.

A Chicago radio station reported that Tuesday's testing session resulted in a split between teammates, a rift that required intervention from Players Association general counsel Gene Orza.

The dispute apparently stemmed from 16 members of the team refusing to submit to trial testing. Under rules of the recently signed collective bargaining agreement, failure to take a test is equivalent to failing one.

According to the report, the block of players were hoping to force mandatory testing. Under terms of the new labor deal, if more than 5 percent of the players fail the test, screening will become mandatory.

But he decision to bypass testing did not sit well with some members of the White Sox, who were vocal in their opposition to the strategy. Many of the players opposed to the block of 16 cited the number of young players who followed veterans in eschewing testing.

"If you are a player who wants to stand for that, fine, but don't implicate young players," White Sox catcher Sandy Alomar said. "They said some of the veterans asked them not to do it. If you are a veteran guy and you don't want to do it, that is fine. The young guys do what they are told. They want to support the veteran guys."

After debate amongst the White Sox, player representative Kelly Wunsch contacted Orza, who convinced the players to submit to testing.

Orza refused to comment on the situation, citing the program's confidental nature, but White Sox General Manager Kenny Williams applauded his team's thought process.

"Although the players and their union do their own business, I admire our players greatly for taking a stand," Williams said.

Under the new CBA, all players on the 40-man roster will be tested in two parts, and up to 240 players can be tested a second time.

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