McCain wants USADA to Test Major Sports

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) joined Reps. Tom Davis (R-Va.), chairman of the House Government Reform Committee, and the ranking Democrat, Henry Waxman (Calif.), yesterday afternoon to introduce legislation to establish uniform steroid policies for professional sports. The legislation, called the “Clean Sports Act of 2005” (S. 1114), sets minimum penalties of a two-year ban for the first violation and a lifetime ban for the second, the same as Olympic standards. It also permits the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy to require additional professional sports leagues and/or NCAA Division I or II sports to comply with the legislation. McCain wants the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) to administer drug testing for the four major professional sports — the NFL, Major League Baseball, the NBA and NHL. The federal government provides nearly 65 percent of USADA’s funding, $7.4 million last year. Don Catlin, MD, director of the UCLA Olympic Analytical Laboratory, testified to McCain that more funding for testing and laboratory research will be required to stay ahead of cheating athletes. The new bill would allot nearly $52 million of taxpayer dollars over the next five years for research, education, testing and adjudication. Not everyone supports the massive increase in funding. Online sports writer Jeff Gordon of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch said that “if Congress decides to spend taxpayer dollars on testing our professional athletes for drugs, well, now, that’s just more useless grandstanding by politicians who should know better.”