MONTREAL--Baseball's Dark Monday - 12 players suspended amidst all type of drug-related allegations - has precipitated a wide variety of responses from players, fans and media.
Some feel this is a stain on baseball. Others suggest this proves baseball is being harder on PED use than the NFL, NBA and NHL combined. It's probably some of both, and the unfortunate part for Bud Selig and crew is that Alex Rodriguez and his protestations of innocence are getting more play than the fact key players from pennant-contending teams have received harsh bans.
Every sport is different in how it administers justice and punishment regarding performance enhancing drugs, which is probably part of the problem. If there was uniformity and co-operation, perhaps greater strides would be taken towards achieving the kind of mostly-drug free sports world some envision.
But all the sports are different, and all have different traditions and sensitivites. It's intriguing, for example, that while baseball makes headlines with all these suspensions, pro tennis is dealing with similar issues in a far more opaque manner.
Two players, Viktor Troicki of Serbia and Marin Cilic of Croatia, are under a cloud these days, but the circumstances surrounding both players is cloudy in general. Neither is at the Rogers Cup this week, but nobody's holding press conferences to explain why.
Troicki refused to take a blood test after submitting to a urine test earlier this year, and we do know the International Tennis Federation has handed him an 18-month suspension that could take him out of the Davis Cup tie against Canada next month.
He's appealing it, however, and his precise status at this moment, and when the appeal will be heard, is unclear. Novak Djokovic, among others, has risen to his countryman's defence.
Cilic, meanwhile, hasn't played since Wimbledon, and Croatian media is reporting that he failed a drug test in Munich several months ago. He was supposed to be a seeded player here in Montreal, but quietly withdrew without explanation. With Croatia facing an important Davis Cup collision with Great Britain, Cilic's status could also have an impact on that international team competition.
Tennis, you should know, has an intriguing record on dealing with drugs. Players these days are forced to let authorities know their whereabouts all year and are tested frequently, and often inconveniently.
Then again, Richard Gasquet was busted by tennis powers for cocaine use several years ago and skirted a long suspension by convincing authorities he only tested positive after kissing a girl at a nightclub.
Martina Hingis, a former world No. 1, is back playing doubles in Toronto this week four years after her two-year ban for cocaine use expired. Hingis still denies she used the drug.
Wayne Odesnik, born in South Africa and a resident of the U.S., was suspended by the ITF in 2010 for two years after admitting to importing human growth hormone into Australia. That suspension was later reduced after he promised to co-operate with the ITF's anti-doping program, although at Wimbledon he seemed to dismiss the suggestion that he'd promised anything.
Meanwhile, his name showed up on the same Biogenesis documents that have ensnared ARod and all the baseball players. Odesnik, who also isn't here in Montreal, has denied any connection to the controversial clinic.
"I'm clean as a whistle," he told a Wimbledon press conference.
Is tennis interested or planning to investigate? All quiet at this point.
That, and the curious uncertainty surrounding Troicki and Cilic, makes one inclined to applaud baseball's aggressiveness, although more info on what these players actually did would be welcome.