Seven questions for Starling Marte, MLB's other PED cheaters

The Pirates' Starling Marte is the latest MLB player to test positive for a banned substance and then claim ignorance. Such claims are getting harder to believe.

The Pirates' Starling Marte is the latest MLB player to test positive for a banned substance and then claim at least partial ignorance. Such claims are getting harder to believe.

Marte issued a statement Tuesday afternoon that said "neglect and lack of knowledge" led to him "unintentionally" make a "mistake" with steroids. I'll take him at his word for now, but I have a few questions.

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Seven questions for MLB's PED cheaters

1. How do you not know what's going into your body?

Marte cited "embarrassment and helplessness" when describing his 80-game suspension for testing positive. It's unclear exactly what he means by those words in this context, but both seem like things that should be easily avoidable in 2017. It's not like the Nandrolone got into his body when he walked past a factory and took a deep breath, or accidentally ate a burger laced with it.

2. Why would you take something without knowing what was in it?

Maybe Marte truly didn't know he was taking a steroid, even though Nandrolone most often enters the body through an injection. But even if he was just ignorant about it, it shouldn't be hard to learn what's in the things players take. If the ingredients aren't listed, that should be a red flag. Even if they are listed, maybe do a little Googling. At the very least, it's probably best to ask someone who would know. Speaking of that . . .

3. Do you consult anyone with your team or MLB before taking a new substance?

New supplements and substances are coming to market all the time. Many of them might seem attractive to you. If you decide to try one, it seems wise to consult a team doctor, trainer or someone else with medical training about whether it could get you in trouble.

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4. Why are you going off-list of approved supplements?

MLB has a list of approved substances. You should, in theory, know what's OK to take. It wouldn't seem wise to go off the list, no matter how innocent something seems. If nothing else, the list of players who claim to be surprised when they test positive for a banned substance should illustrate the the danger in this.

5. Will you warn other players about falling victim to "lack of knowledge" when it comes to this stuff?

"I ask for forgiveness for unintentionally disrespecting so many people who have trusted in my work and have supported me so much," Marte said in his statement. Perhaps it would be good to let other players know what new things you've used this season so they can avoid them. This wouldn't necessarily have to be done publicly, but it seems like you could spread the word quickly through MLB clubhouses.

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6. What will you do differently now that you've apparently let ignorance get you suspended?

It would seem in players' best interests to enhance the testing of new supplements coming to market. I don't know the best way to do this, but it seems like a good idea. I wonder whether Marte and other players who've fallen victim to supposed accidental contamination will lobby for better screening, better education or better communication about the dangers of trying new stuff.

7. Do you believe stricter punishments will deter future unintentional ingestion?

Some players have said the MLB justice system is too lenient on PED offenders. Because nearly all players who test positive claim ignorance, maybe the punishments/suspensions should be more intense. Maybe that would deter players from taking things without knowing what's in them, as this is obviously an issue, what with all the players who "unintentionally" take bad stuff.

If players are actually in the dark about what they're taking, and if players actually want to do something about it, it seems there's a need — and an opportunity — for better education and prevention.

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