7/23: MLB Steroid Suspensions

Marist National Poll

An investigation by Major League Baseball is underway to determine whether or not to suspend players associated with the Miami-based clinic, Biogenesis, that provided performance enhancing drugs to other players.  But, a majority of baseball fans nationally do not think that an association with the clinic is enough to warrant disciplinary action.  61% of fans say it is not right for the MLB to suspend players who did not test positive for performance-enhancing drugs but are connected to the Biogenesis clinic.  28% think it is right for the players to be suspended, and 11% are unsure.

Click Here for Complete July 23, 2013 USA Marist Poll Release and Tables

“Sports fans are very loyal to their favorite athletes, and for most, it would take true hard evidence to change their perceptions of these athletes,” says Dr. Keith Strudler, Director of The Marist College Center for Sports Communication.  “Circumstantial evidence, no matter how strong, probably isn’t going to convince most fans.”

The poll was conducted prior to the suspension of Milwaukee Brewers’ Ryan Braun yesterday.  At this point, few fans know a lot about the scandal.  Just 24% say they have heard either a great deal — 13% — or a good amount — 11% — about MLB players and the Biogenesis clinic.  26%, have heard a little and 50% know nothing at all about it.

This Marist Poll has been done in conjunction with The Marist College Center for Sports Communication.

Table: Right or Not Right for MLB to Suspend Players Connected to Miami Clinic?

Table: Awareness of MLB Players and Biogenesis Clinic

The Great Hall of Fame Steroid Debate

More than three in four baseball fans — 78% — think players who have used steroids or other performance-enhancing drugs should not be eligible for the Hall of Fame.  18% think these players should be, and 4% are unsure.

“When it’s proven that an athlete cheated, most sports fans aren’t just upset, they often feel betrayed,” says Dr. Keith Strudler, Director of The Marist College Center for Sports Communication.  “They seem to show unusual disdain towards their former heroes, refusing them the ultimate reward of entering the Hall of Fame.”

Time has not healed all wounds.  When Marist last reported this question in April 2009, 70% of baseball fans thought players who used steroids should not be admitted to the Hall of Fame.  24% believed they should be given this honor, and 6%, at the time, were unsure.

There are age differences.  Fans under 45 years old are more forgiving than those who are older.  24% of younger fans think steroid use should not keep players from the Hall of Fame.  13% of those 45 and older share this view.

Table: Steroid Use and the Hall of Fame

How the Survey was Conducted

Nature of the Sample

About Keith Strudler, Ph.D.

Keith Strudler, Ph.D., is the director for the Marist College Center for Sports Communication.  Dr. Strudler founded Marist’s popular concentration in sports communication in 2002, now one of the nation’s largest in the discipline.  He studies and teaches in the areas of sports media, sports and society, and sports reporting and information.  Dr. Strudler also writes weekly sports commentary for WAMC, an NPR radio station in Albany, NY.