GLENDALE, Ariz. -- As much as Major League Baseball hates to admit it, there are cheaters out there. The league doesn’t always know the who or the where, but players are taking PEDs, and Adam Dunn knows it.
At this point, he’s just come to expect it.
“There’s always going to be people cheating,” Dunn said Tuesday in an interview with Comcast SportsNet. “I don’t care what profession. I don’t care what you do.”
But when it happens in baseball, a sport that has been trying to escape it’s own dark, steroid-filled shadow, it becomes another black eye for a sport that has been knocked to the canvas by it way too many times.
Dunn doesn’t know which players are actually taking performance-enhancing drugs. He just assumes that over the course of the season he’ll come into contact with people who are either bending the rules or flat-out breaking them.
Seven years after the BALCO scandal rocked MLB by exposing many cheats and tarnishing even more lives, Dunn can’t believe that players are still willing to take the risks.
“As far as guys getting busted for all these PEDs and things like that, I don’t get it. Period,” he said.
Especially now with a 50-game suspension staring you in the face.
“I think what we have in place is pretty severe," Dunn said. "A 50-game suspension, that’s a long time. To jeopardize your team who’s counting on you for 50 games, it doesn’t add up. It’s selfish.”
With so much money at stake nowadays, the pressure to not just be great, but to stay healthy is a major factor for everyone. Some players choose to cheat, while others do it--and don’t even know it.
“The thing that makes me nervous and everyone in the locker room nervous is if you go to GNC and buy something that you can go buy, whether that be--I don’t take that junk, but I know a lot of people do--you’re taking your career and your family’s name and putting it in jeopardy. That’s kind of a scary thing," Dunn said.
So the White Sox slugger won't even go near it.
"Guys get busted for things they buy at GNC. To me, that’s stupid," he said. "But you’re doing it at your own risk, so they’re stupid for doing it."
For the second year in a row, Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun is caught up in a drug conspiracy, reportedly linked to a PED peddler in Florida. Dunn wants to believe that Braun is innocent. He is staying in his corner until proven guilty.
“It’s a bad spot. He’s such a good player, such a great player, I know him and he’s a great guy. I’m hoping that it’s all not true.”
But what angers Dunn the most is that his entire generation of players will always have a cloud hanging over their careers. Who cheated? Who didn’t? Who knows?
That's the tragedy of it all.
“What makes me mad is when you go back and look at your career, everyone is always going to lump all of us into the PED steroid era. That’s not fair. That’s not fair to guys like [Ken Griffey] Junior who did it the right way for a long, long time. I’m not saying he’ll get lumped into it, but he played in that era and that’s not fair to those guys who did it the right way and were very, very successful, and to have a few guys ruin it."