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Congressmen introduce legislation

WASHINGTON (AP) -- To many, Mark McGwire's repeated refusals to answer questions about whether he used steroids were the most riveting part of a congressional hearing two months ago on drug use in baseball.

To Sen. John McCain, who followed the proceedings that day on TV, the most significant segment was testimony from parents of two young players who committed suicide after using steroids.

On Tuesday, the Arizona Republican joined four members of the House Government Reform Committee -- which held that 11-hour hearing in March -- to introduce the Clean Sports Act of 2005.

Athletes in the four major U.S. professional leagues would be subject to two-year bans for a first positive drug test and lifetime bans for a second under the legislation, which would put the sports' steroid policies under the White House drug czar.

"All of us are very reluctant to do this. I'll tell you what tipped me -- and I think it did millions of people all over America -- was the families that you had before the committee," McCain said.

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"The parents, the grief-stricken parents, whose children had committed suicide. ... These parents talked about how their children believed that was the only way they could make it into the major leagues. I don't think there was a dry eye in the house."

Joining McCain on Tuesday were Republicans Tom Davis of Virginia (the committee chairman) and Mark Souder of Indiana, and Democrats Henry Waxman of California and Elijah Cummings of Maryland. Davis is the House sponsor of the legislation, with 17 co-sponsors, eight Republicans and nine Democrats.

"Steroids are illegal. Steroids are dangerous. They can be deadly," Davis said. "And there is no place for them in our sports leagues or our school grounds."

It's the second recent bill that would establish minimum steroids policies across the spectrum of American sports in a bid to align them with Olympic standards for testing and punishment.

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