Thursday, August 19, 2010

Another baseball player, another problem

This from the New York Times:
Federal authorities have decided to indict Roger Clemens on charges of making false statements to Congress about his use of performance-enhancing drugs, according to two people briefed on the matter. An announcement is expected in the near future.

The indictment will come nearly two and half years after Clemens and his former trainer, Brian McNamee, testified under oath at a 2008 hearing before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, directly contradicting each other about whether Clemens had used the banned substances.
Major League Baseball's ignorance -- deliberate, if you ask me -- about the rampant use of performancing-enhancing drugs especially during the 1990s and early 2000s continues to come to roost. But let's make clear that Clemens' problems are not with the game he cheated because of his cheating. Instead he has a federal indictment coming at him akin to one of the near 100-mph fastballs he threw.

I'm not in favor of striking from the record books the accomplishments of Clemens, Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire or any other likely user of steroids or other such drugs. No, I'm not condoning what they did; but I am saying that if the (woefully ignorant) commissioner's office refused to address the "growing" problem when it should have, then there is little that can be done now.

After the fact morality doesn't work.

I provide you with what I think is a relevant parallel -- I had the opportunity to interview International Olympic Committee member Anita DeFrantz several years ago as part of my dissertation research. I asked her about the use of steroids and other such drugs by Soviet and other Communist-bloc athletes (though let's remember they were not the only ones), and whether because of that use the accomplishments of those athletes are tainted and by extension should be erased from the IOC's records.

She emphatically said no. Unless the person accused of cheating is caught on that day in which he or she competes, it is unfair to later suggest that the achievement is no longer valid, she told me.

You are free to disagree with her, but I, for one, think she is spot on.

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