Wizards' Dixon to appear before Congress

Posted: Wednesday, May 18, 2005

WASHINGTON — Washington Wizards guard Juan Dixon will testify before Congress on Thursday, the only athlete slated to appear when two House committees hold separate hearings on steroid use and testing in major pro sports.

Lawmakers on one panel already proposed a bill to govern drug-testing in sports; the leaders of the other plan to join Sen. John McCain in introducing legislation this week.

Dixon was one of five NBA players asked to appear at the House Government Reform Committee hearing Thursday. NBA commissioner David Stern, players' union director Billy Hunter, and Houston Rockets trainer Keith Jones will be at that panel's third hearing on steroids.

"I was called upon to offer my insight and knowledge of this issue. I look forward to representing the players in this extremely important matter," Dixon said in a statement released by the Wizards.

The House Commerce trade and consumer protection subcommittee is conducting its own steroids inquiry and will hold hearings Wednesday and Thursday. Stern, Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig, NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue, Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber and union officials are among the witnesses scheduled to appear.

That subcommittee's chairman, Florida Republican Cliff Stearns, proposed the Drug Free Sports Act on April 26. That 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 $5 million.

"It would be easier for the sports if they would work with us, instead of against us," Stearns said Tuesday in a telephone interview.

"One purpose (of the hearings) is to ask these commissioners and the union people why they should not be subject to the same standards that are used in the Olympics. The burden is on them to explain why. The second purpose is to get their views on the bill and ask them for suggestions to make it more palatable to their way of thinking so we can just get an understanding of what they would accept."

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