Meet the Press   |  August 04, 2013

Recent controversy may affect baseball culture

NBC's Bob Costas discusses how the current news in major league baseball will affect baseball culture in America.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> the cover of " sports illustrated " this week, as people have read it, the last days of a-rod. i wanted to talk about this not just as a lifelong baseball fan, but this is an american institution dealing with cynicism, dealing with a sense of loss in terms of trust of heroes for young people , and yet as i've talked to you about it this week, you've been struck by the culture among the players and how that has changed that has led to discussion of a lifetime ban by baseball , which is so significant.

>> yeah. this is a positive -- in my view, this is a positive turning point. i mean, ooits not good that many players including star players are involved in ongoing performance-enhancing drugs use, but it's very clear that baseball is serious about this. they may have gotten religion on it late, but once they did, they got serious about it, show nothing favoritetism on it. ryan braun was a very popular player in the home city of the commissioner of baseball , a-rod one of the biggest stars. they'll go after anybody who fails a drug test or indicates they may be guilty. and not only is baseball itself putting pressure on these players, but now the pressure comes from within. even the players who didn't use a decade ago, there was kind of this code of silence . no one said anything. and the leaders of the players association were complicit in taking the game down the drain, corrupting both contemporary competition and the record books in the sport where records and comparisons across the generations matter most. now you have players saying, outspoken about it, we want ryan braun to receive a more significant penalty. we're behind these punishments. and, in fact, if anything, we'd like to see the punishments strength. ed.

>> and that's the question of how do you disincentivize this behavior? the blight on baseball in the '90s with steroids, and here you have a more sophisticated turn these players were making in order to still juice.

>> yeah. there are ever more sophisticated means of doing it. i don't think they can get the full-blown effect that mcgwire, sosa, bonds got where they could probably turn themselveses into psi borgs, but with the use of hgh and testosterone and masking agents they can get some edge, otherwise they wouldn't do it, so it's ongoing. but within the game, the disapproval mounts and the vast majority of players stand firmly against it, and you find some of them, like matt scherzer, a player from the detroit tigers , and others saying here's what we should add to baseball 's arsenal -- the right at the team's discretion to void a long-term contract if a player is found, and after he gets due process and goes through appeals, so it's a fair process, if the player is found to have used peds, the team has the right to void the long-term contract. in the case of ryan braun , for example, he loses $3 million. that's a lot of money. but there's still about $100 million left on the contract. if you put in that clause, that you could void a deal, that's a tremendous disincentive.

>> bob costas of nbc sports , thank you so much. what an important time with the suspension of alex rodriguez coming down to tomorrow according to your reporting from nbc sports . bob, thank you as always.