By Steve Kastenbaum, CNN
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(CNN) – Over the last decade, more than a few professional baseball players have had their reputations, and legacies, tarnished by doping. That doesn’t seem to have deterred some big leaguers from taking that same risk today.
Earlier this week, reports surfaced that 20 Major League Baseball players face suspensions of up to 100 games for using banned substances.
[1:21] “This is how professional sports work,” says CJ Nitkowski, a pitcher for several different major league teams from 1996 to 2005. “Guys will still cheat. And when there’s so much at stake. I mean you look at and talk about the dollars that are at stake and the difference between a guy who is in Triple A and the major leagues is not that much. So guys are always trying to gain an edge.”
Professional athletes are highly competitive by nature and will often seek any edge that will enable them to outdo others. NY Professor Lee Igel, an expert on sports psychology, says there is something else motivating athletes to cheat too.
[2:22] "Really it’s a tradeoff between the short term and the long term. In other words, some of the incentives that are in place make it worth in the short term to get involved with using performance enhancing drugs without looking too much to what might happen down the line.”
Fear of losing multi-million dollar salaries may not be a factor in the decision making process. In the past, teams have sought to reach settlements with players who have doped rather than going though the messy process of voiding a contract.