All sports leagues and associations should give a one-year suspension to any athlete testing positive for drugs and ban any athlete who does not disclose the source of his drugs, House Speaker Newt Gingrich is recommending.
"It seems to me you have to bear a certain responsibility as a star," the Georgia Republican said at a news conference.He said he was asking for players to turn in drug dealers because "we have to make life very frightening for dealers."
Gingrich said he would send the major sports groups a draft of his idea and ask for their comments.
"I think anybody who has any type of knowledge of substance abuse realizes that the treatment aspect is just as important" as punitive action, said Stacy Robinson, director of player development for the National Football League.
Gingrich, he said, "should not forget that we are dealing with human beings and are dealing with in essence a sickness."
Pat Courtney of Major League Baseball said it would be tough to impose unilaterally the ideas proposed by Gingrich because anti-drug policy is determined through collective bargaining with the players' association.
In baseball, a player testing positive for drugs must receive treatment and is disciplined for a second offense. In the NFL, a person caught taking drugs must enter a rehabilitation program where he must undergo random testing. On testing positive again, he loses four weeks' pay and a four-week suspension. A third means banishment.