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Calls for Hill action on steroid use

  |   March 17, 2005 at 3:24 PM
WASHINGTON, March 17 (UPI) -- Baseball Hall of Famer Sen. Jim Bunning told lawmakers Thursday the time may have come for Congress to intervene to deal with steroid abuse in baseball.

Testifying before the House Government Reform committee about Major League Baseball's effort to eradicate steroid use, the Kentucky Republican and former Detroit Tigers pitcher said new league policies providing for the suspension of players for repeated use of a host of banned performance enhancing substances is a "baby step forward," and Congressional action ultimately may be needed.

He added while he has long advocated government staying out of league business, the new penalties are "pretty puny" and called for a three-strikes and your out policy.

"If baseball fails to fix this scandal, there are a lot of things we can do to get their attention, by amending labor laws, repealing the outdated antitrust exemption that baseball alone enjoys, and shinning the spotlight of public scrutiny," Bunning said.

However, when asked by UPI whether such action would be taken or could get very far in Congress, Bunning was noncommittal after noting, "Major League Baseball has a huge, strong lobby on Capitol Hill."

The panel also heard from several prominent current and former Major League Baseball players including home-run sensations Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, along with Jose Canseco, Rafael Palmerio, Curt Schilling, and Frank Thomas.

Palmerio and Thomas, all advocates against steroid use, along with Sosa denied the use of steroids.

© 2005 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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