By: Eric Thomas
It’s understandable that most of the sports world rolled over and hit the snooze button when Alex Rodriguez was implicated in yet another steroid scandal. The collective country just finished blinking away boredom at Lance Armstrong, when he told Oprah a few of his transgressions. Those revelations, like the ones involving A-Rod were met with a collected shrug. This story fits with what we already know about our so called heroes.
If you aren’t interested, you have company. Performance enhancing drugs cast a shadow over all sports and we don’t know where that shadow falls. It could be anywhere, so we assume it’s everywhere. Many will tell you that athletes don’t deserve the HOF cold shoulder. Armstrong will tell you that everyone was doing it at the time, offering the dictionary definition of cynicism
If you don’t care, understand what you’re saying. If athletes are allowed to cheat with impunity, the only victims are the ones who didn’t dope. Why is it there is no sympathy for Hank Aaron? No feelings of remorse that Roger Maris’ amazing record was broken by someone who cheated? Why is it that they must be left by the wayside? Aaron had to endure an epic amount of adversity on the way to his title, as did Maris. They stuck their chin out and achieved it and we must hand over the titles to these people because sycophantic sports media types are too in love with the players to deny them anything at all?
Why not just legalize all drugs for sports? Why not allow these athletes to do whatever they want to their bodies, regardless of the consequences? Bring your bat, glove and syringe to the ballpark.
The people who kick the dirt over these proceedings argue steroids don’t affect the players. They argue that drugs can’t affect your timing. They don’t give you the ability to hit a 100 mph fastball. That’s not clear, but you can hit well into your late 40s if you dope. People point out it’s always the best athletes that get caught, but don’t they usually have the most money? Altering your body on an enzymatic and hormonal level costs money. If you are just up from the minor leagues, you can’t afford it. Sign a big contract and now you need to sign another one? Those tend to be the people who are popped for juice.
With Lance Armstrong, his confession in front of Oprah was only the beginning. The hounds of hell are nipping at his heels. The Doping Agency isn’t just going after his titles. Lance stopped fighting for those. He’s squealing because they came after his money. They started to use words like fraud and malfeasance and those words cost money.
Why doesn’t that happen with A-Rod? The Yankees owe him $100 million. They paid such a sum because they thought he would return the home run record to the Yankees. That doesn’t look likely. Why can’t the Yankees call it fraud? Why can’t anyone go after the money paid? These guys broke the law so why can’t they feel the same heat that Lance is now feeling because of his ill gotten gains? Pete Rose was never convicted of anything either.
The American public shrugs its collected shoulders because it’s seen this before. There is only so vigilant we can be when there are better things on TV. I wonder if enough straw will ever break the camel’s back. I wonder if there is going to be some kind of penalty that makes the players think twice. If only anyone took this as seriously as they did gambling.