• Marlon Byrd Busted For PED Use

    Posted by on June 26th, 2012 · Comments (5)

    Via MLB -

    Marlon Byrd, an 11-year Major League veteran who was released by the Red Sox earlier this month, received a 50-game suspension Monday after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance.

    Byrd is currently a free agent, so he will be placed on the restricted list for the duration of his suspension, which will begin immediately and will be in effect through Aug. 20. It will result in the loss of 50 days of pay.

    The outfielder, an All-Star with the Cubs in 2010, tested positive for Tamoxifen, the Commissioner’s Office said.

    Byrd said the positive test happened because of medication he was taking for a years-old condition that is unrelated to baseball and recurred during the offseason.

    “Although that medication is on the banned list, I absolutely did not use it for performance enhancement reasons,” Byrd said. “I am mortified by my carelessness and I apologize to everyone who loves this game as I do. I will serve my suspension, continue to work hard and hope that I am given an opportunity to help a Club win later this season.”

    Byrd, 34, has had a long-standing relationship with Victor Conte, who pleaded guilty to distributing steroids as part of the investigation of his company, Balco, in 2005. Conte served four months in prison and four months of home confinement, but Byrd said last year that he wasn’t concerned about the relationship.

    Byrd told reporters in February 2011 that he has used supplements since college, but was not concerned about testing positive for any banned substances, and that he trusted Conte would never provide an athlete with anything illegal.

    “To be honest, he could teach me how to beat the system if he wanted to, but I would have to ask him and then he would have to put himself in that situation again,” Byrd said. “I don’t want to do that, and he doesn’t want to do that.

    “He’s not going to make a mistake with the supplements, and that’s why I don’t have to worry about it.”

    Added Byrd, at the time, of his relationship with Conte: “I’m sure the Cubs knew. They wouldn’t have signed me if there were any worries. I’m a supplement guy. The Phillies knew it when I was drafted. I looked the same way.”

    Conte took to Twitter to deny his involvement.

    Byrd was a 10th-round pick of the Phillies in the 1999 Draft, and made his Major League debut with Philadelphia in 2002. He finished fourth in the National League Rookie of the Year voting in 2003, his first full big-league season, when he hit .303 with seven homers, 45 RBIs, 86 runs and 11 stolen bases.

    Byrd is currently a free agent, so he will be placed on the restricted list for the duration of his suspension, which will begin immediately and will be in effect through Aug. 20. It will result in the loss of 50 days of pay.

    The above part surprised me.  First, it would seem to make more sense to apply the suspension once he started playing again.  Putting it on him while he is a Free Agent is sort of like telling someone who is due jail time that his time stuck home because he was sick with the chicken pox will count as “time served.”  And, the loss of pay?  Well, I guess that’s legal – since he’s still on someone’s payroll.  But, it just seems harsh – given that he’s not actively employed.  It’s sort of like laying someone off, and, while he’s collecting his severance pay, docking him because it was subsequently found out that  he was sleeping on the job when he was working for you.  Yet, in the end, I guess this is what baseball wants – to hit the players in the wallet as a way to scare them from using PEDs.

    Comments on Marlon Byrd Busted For PED Use

    1. Raf
      June 26th, 2012 | 7:45 am

      I think it’s because he’s on a team’s payroll that MLB did that. Then again, Manny Ramirez’s suspension was cut after he “retired” so I guess there’s precedence?

    2. MJ Recanati
      June 26th, 2012 | 9:19 am

      Raf wrote:

      Then again, Manny Ramirez’s suspension was cut after he “retired” so I guess there’s precedence?

      I think that’s why. It doesn’t make a lot of sense but, hey, the wrinkled old idiot running MLB doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense either.

    3. redbug
      June 26th, 2012 | 6:26 pm

      Tamoxifen? Geez. That’s what’s given to women w/ breast cancer after their chemo is done.

    4. JeremyM
      June 26th, 2012 | 11:59 pm

      If you suspended a player like Marlon Byrd for 50 games upon signing with a team, you are effectively ending his career unless he somehow made nice with a team that was willing to let him rot on a minor league roster while he serves it out. What team would sign a 5th outfielder, a dispensable part if there ever was one, only to mothball him for 50 days? I think the punishment makes sense.

    5. MJ Recanati
      June 27th, 2012 | 9:17 am

      JeremyM wrote:

      If you suspended a player like Marlon Byrd for 50 games upon signing with a team, you are effectively ending his career unless he somehow made nice with a team that was willing to let him rot on a minor league roster while he serves it out. What team would sign a 5th outfielder, a dispensable part if there ever was one, only to mothball him for 50 days? I think the punishment makes sense.

      I don’t follow why MLB should consider the ramifications of a suspension on a player’s career. Byrd shouldn’t have taken a banned substance. He played roulette with his career and, given the very clear rules in place now — in a post-Mitchell Report world — if he’s suspended upon signing with a team I have no sympathy for the potential end of his career. He should’ve thought of that before he recklessly took a banned substance.

      I say this as someone that is absolutely not a PED zealot. I don’t care if players use PED’s and I find the moral outrage on the subject to be silly and misguided. But the rules are out there and everyone has to follow them. Allowing a player to serve a suspension while they’re free agents (or retired, in Manny’s case) makes no sense to me.

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