Congress continues hearings on steroids

Updated: May 11, 2005, 10:07 PM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- NBA commissioner David Stern will testify before Congress next week about his league's drug-testing policy, making him the third head of a major U.S. sport called before lawmakers investigating steroids.

David Stern

NBA vice president Rick Buchanan also will appear before the House Government Reform Committee on May 19, league spokesman Tim Frank said Wednesday, adding others might testify, too.

Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig, other officials and current and former players appeared before the committee on March 17. Lawmakers roundly chastised the sport for what they said was a lenient steroids policy; Selig has since proposed making the punishments tougher and banning amphetamines.

Next up was the NFL and commissioner Paul Tagliabue. That league strengthened its drug program on the eve of its April 27 trip to Capitol Hill, and congressmen praised the NFL for having a better program than baseball.

Lawmakers have said they are drafting legislation to establish uniform drug-testing rules for major U.S. sports, though any such bill would be expected to face an uphill fight in Washington.

The NBA currently suspends first-time offenders of its steroids policy for five games. But only two players -- Matt Geiger and Don MacLean -- are believed to have been suspended for steroid use since the NBA implemented its current policy in 1999.

Stern has said he would like to strengthen testing for performance-enhancing drugs in the league's new collective bargaining agreement, which is currently being negotiated with the players' union. A formal proposal from the union is expected any day, and owners and players are scheduled to meet in New York on May 17.

"It's incumbent upon every sport to just have rules that demonstrate to their fans that, if you're in the NBA, you submit to a certain amount of testing," Stern said last month. "It's really a covenant with the fans, especially the young ones."

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press