Thursday, September 29, 2005

The steroidal expansion of Congressional inquiry

Yesterday, several United States Senators, faced with monumental decisions about this country, such as whether or not to confirm Judge John Roberts as Chief Justice, how to most effectively prosecute the war on terror, how to clean up after the Gulf Coast hurricanes, and the best way to maintain our economy's strength, spent a morning lambasting professional sports leagues about the problems of using steroids. The interest of Senator Jim Bunning is obvious; he is a Hall of Fame baseball pitcher so naturally takes an interest in the matter. However, does the use of steroids rise to the level of importance of many other matters that the Congress could address?
The role of government is to provide the infrastructure and services that localities and states cannot, and, in general, to get out of the way more often than not. However, Congress takes an interest in baseball, particularly, because of its antitrust status. While this provides some justification, it certainly does not provide enough to merit Congressional meddling in a private affair. Simply put, one must wonder about the priorities of the Senate if it deems a steroid scandal as a "transcendent" issue, as John McCain put it. Likely, few of our soldiers who are defending freedom around the world think of a minority of professional sports players using steroids as a "transcendent" issue. Same with internally displaced citizens from Gulf Coast hurricanes. The displaced father of three is likely not concerned with steroid abuse, but, rather, with how the government will help him get back on his feet after the devastation of Katrina and Rita.
Government has no role in policing sports in the best of times; it is a private matter to be handled by leagues. If fans do not want their teams to employ players who use enhancement drugs, then they will not show up at the gates. However, these are not what many would classify as the best of times, and it is an abhorrence that the Senate would waste its time on these pithy matters. To quote Steve Czaban of Fox Sports Radio, John McCain is an "embarassment to Team Elephant" right now.

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