Leaders fight problem of performance-enhancing drugs

Updated: May 15, 2007, 1:14 AM ET
Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- High-ranking officials from the four major U.S. sports leagues, the U.S. Olympic Committee and the NCAA have met with the White House and federal agencies to discuss working together to fight the problem of performance-enhancing drugs in sport.

The Washington Post first reported the two meetings, one in March and one last week, on its Web site Monday night.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, Major League Baseball president and chief operating officer Robert A. DuPuy, NBA executive vice president and general counsel Rick Buchanan and NHL vice president and chief legal officer Bill Daly attended a meeting at the headquarters of the Drug Enforcement Administration on March 12, the newspaper reported.

U.S. Anti-Doping Agency chief executive Terry Madden and USOC general counsel Jeff Gewirtz also attended, as did Mary Wilfert, the assistant director of education outreach for the NCAA, and Robert Kanaby, the executive director of the National Federation of State High School Associations.

The purpose of the meetings was to determine how the sports leagues and organizations can work more closely together and what role the government can play as an investigator.

"This is an important next step in the fight against doping in sport," USOC spokesman Darryl Seibel told The Associated Press on Monday night. "This is a collaborative effort designed to bring more resources and expertise to the fight. This is a national issue and we believe it is appropriate for these groups to work together to help eradicate this problem."

The second meeting was held at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

Representatives from the Department of Justice and U.S. Customs and Border Protection and from the four professional leagues' players unions also attended the meetings.

"I give the leagues great credit for not only initiating this discussion but also reaching out to the right people and agreeing to sit down and have really frank and candid conversations," Scott M. Burns, deputy director for state and local affairs at the White House drug control office, told the Washington Post. "We had representatives from the highest levels and key entities at the table to deal with this."

Burns said the parties agreed to meet again, though he said the date for the next meeting had not been set. "I hear more about HGH and steroids and athletes than I do about crack cocaine," Burns said. "It's important to America, so it's important to us. . . . This is the first step in changing the way we look at this problem in the United States."

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press