Sports commissioners to testify

Sports commissioners to testify

WASHINGTON -- The commissioners of Major League Baseball, the NFL, NBA, NHL and Major League Soccer will testify next week at two days of congressional hearings about legislation calling for standard steroid testing across U.S. sports.

In a witness list released Thursday, the House Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection Subcommittee said it will hear from baseball's Bud Selig, the NBA's David Stern, the NHL's Gary Bettman, and Don Garber of MLS on May 18, with the NFL's Paul Tagliabue appearing the next day.

Baseball players' union head Donald Fehr, NBA players' union chief Billy Hunter and former U.S. Anti-Doping Agency chairman Frank Shorter will also testify.

The subcommittee's chairman, Florida Republican Cliff Stearns, proposed the Drug Free Sports Act on April 26.

His panel's inquiry is separate from that being done by the Government Reform Committee, which heard from baseball players and officials on March 17, the NFL on April 27, and is scheduled to hear from Stern on May 19.

The leaders of that committee have said they are writing legislation of their own.

Stearns' bill would have the Commerce Secretary oversee drug-testing rules and calls for a two-year suspension for a first offense and a lifetime ban for a second. Leagues that don't comply would be fined at least $5 million.

Any such bill is expected to face an uphill fight in Washington.

"It is clear that legislation is needed to establish uniform standards and heavier penalties for steroid use," Stearns said. "Professional sports expect world-class performances from their players, and these athletes should be subject to world-class testing standards."