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March 20, 2023

Feds Barking Up Wrong Tree Here

Pardon me for being less than impressed with the DEA’s flashy maneuver here in America’s Finest City on Tuesday.  As our friends at NBCSanDiego reported, the Feds came knocking at the doors of our professional sporting teams, looking to essentially audit the medicine cabinet.

The DEA is trying to “verify the correctness of controlled substance inventories, records, reports and other documents required to be kept under the Controlled Substances Act and for the purpose of protecting the public health and safety,” they say in a statement.

Well bully for them.  It’s a sexy headline, a splashy story, your tax dollars hard at work.  The “war on drugs” has been a spectacular waste of money, resources and time for decades now, and every once in a while there needs to be a parade of contraband or a flurry of activity to justify the salaries of all involved.

But honestly, I can’t think of a much bigger waste of time than to come around to NFL and MLB team doctors hoping to find a pipeline for prescription drugs.

walter whiteDo ballplayers take things they “shouldn’t”?  Of course.  Do they get them from team doctors?  Of course not.  It would be like going to your boss to try and score your next fix.  Unless your boss is Walter White (pictured right), that’s probably not a good plan.

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Both the Padres and Chargers issued terse statements on Tuesday evening.

From the Padres:

“Earlier today, the San Diego Padres learned of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration. The Padres are fully cooperating with the DEA and have been advised that none of our players is the subject of this investigation. Since this investigation is ongoing, the Padres will have no further comment at this time.”

The Chargers took it a step further, perhaps answering an unasked question: did Kevin Ellison drop a dime on the team during questioning for his Vicodin arrest weeks ago?

From the Chargers:

“The San Diego Chargers were made aware today of an administrative inspection by the Drug Enforcement Administration and have cooperated fully.  In regards to the ongoing investigation involving Kevin Ellison, the Vicodin in Kevin’s possession was not provided by the Chargers, its physicians or anyone affiliated with the team.”

Glad we cleared that up.  Short of maybe the Raiders, I can’t imagine a team stupid enough to provide the hookup on pain pills for one of their athletes in a provable, traceable way.

Spoke to a former major league ballplayer at Petco Park on Tuesday.  I’ll leave his name out of it because he has nothing to do with this current saga; he was just giving me “deep background” on life in the big leagues.  He scoffed at the idea of the DEA’s dig for dirt.

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“If we wanted to get something, we knew where to go, who to get it from, and it wasn’t the team doctor,” said this ex-big leaguer.

“There were four or five guys on the team who you knew you could go to for different things if you needed them.”

medicine jarBaseball has done its part, now screening for amphetamines as part of the league’s drug testing policy.  The “beans” which used to be passed around MLB clubhouses like coffee additives (I saw it myself) are now at least relegated to the world of hush hush.

But ballplayers are going to ache, they’re going to have nagging pains that don’t go away, and they’re going to want more than a Tylenol to get ready for that night’s game.  No DEA raid’s going to change the painful nature of 162 games in 180 days, traveling around the country.

Future DEA “administrative warrants” should immediately go out for the Rolling Stones’ tour physician and whomever Rush has on call at the EIB Network, just for consistency’s sake.

Hey, I’m sure the DEA can walk and chew gum at the same time.  Maybe this raid/audit was all part of the rounds.  Who knows, maybe someone will be dumb enough to have something on paper they can circle in red.

More likely than not, we’ll hear nothing more and someone will file an expense report.

This is not dissimilar to the dog and pony show put on periodically by senators on Capitol Hill, but at least in the case of steroids and PEDs, professional athletes are the standard bearers, and top down pressure is appropriate.

But this?  This is just posturing, a grand waste of time with two sexy, unassailable targets that will keep the public’s attention for 48 hours while amounting to a hill of beans.

Not even a hill of “beans”.  Those are in somebody’s locker, away from the DEA’s prying eyes.


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