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More A-Rod controversy, but does anyone care?

by Tom Phillips

Unless you've been living under a rock over the weekend, you'll notice that federal documents have been leaked to a Sports Illustrated reporter containing information that everyone's favorite media pinata, Alex Rodriguez, is allegedly one of 104 players to test positive for substances back in 2003. Huge news in the media circles of stealing headlines and creating sensationalism.

And I sit here and ask myself, so what? Do I really care?

Color me a cynic, call me what you will. I just don't care anymore. I really didn't care when Mark McGuire and Raphael Palmeiro sat before Congress and testified falsely. It's not the business of the government to regulate a professional sports league anyway. Heck, half of this is the Feds' fault for violating the Constitutional rights of these players. Barry Bonds and A-rod have less legal protections than terrorists at this point. Who's accountable on the government's end for leaking these things? But I digress.

I have to honestly admit that I don't really have a problem with these players doing everything they can to elevate their games to the highest level. Sitting at my job, I try to do the same. Sure, I try to always be ethical and stick to my morals, but hey, I'm not the Pope or Mother Teresa. And the stakes for me are maybe a promotion I don't really want anyway, so my choices are easy. Yes I cut corners sometimes, I round figures off and try to exercise a modicum of common sense and judgement in everything I do. But wave $250 million in front of me and my answer might change.

Are the things these players did wrong? Sure, I think it's a bad example for kids and such. But if my kid is trying to model his life after a professional athlete, there's about 2 or 3 billion other examples I'd rather they follow. Seriously, have you seen some of these guys and what they do off the field?

Are the things these players did illegal? It all depends. Some of it was criminal, some of it broke the rules of the game, some of it was allowed under the existing rules at the time. I think lying under oath is a far more damning offense than taking a greenie before a baseball game, or scuffing the ball, or corking a bat. Heck, short of fixing a game a la the Chicago BlackSox, there's no real cardinal sin in baseball. We have bigots, liars, and criminals in the hall of Fame. Let's not be hypocrites here.

Fans go to games to see their teams win. They go to see great feats of skill and strength, go to see good baseball being played. Sure, these acts of selfishness and greed tarnish the reputations of players, but the bottom line is their doing it because forces and pressures from fans, teams, and agents are complicit in supporting this type of behavior.

As for A-rod, well he's in for a rough season of media and fan scrutiny. But he didn't do anything against the rules at the time or illegal, so as long as he keeps his mouth shut and sticks to his "no comment" line he's legally in the clear. The two potential criminal parties here are the MLBPA for not having the samples destroyed after testing as was their legal right (if I were the players I'd be suing the hell out of them right now for gross incompetence and negligence) and the Federal government, who leaked confidential information to the media (again I'd be suing the Federal prosecutors for 4th Amendment violations and taking that reporter to court to divulge the leak). But that's just me.

A-rod allegedly failed a steroid test. So what? Doc Ellis dropped acid, Ty Cobb was a documented bigot, Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle were adulterers. Kenny Rogers had pine tar under his cap in the ALCS in 2007. Graig Nettles cracked a bat and superballs flew out from the core. Baseball is full of villains and players looking to get ahead. Let's face it folks, they're human just like us.

1 comment:

  1. hofs reggie jackson and fergie jenkins pot, mantle and mays b12 shots? willie stargell and mike schmidt greenies, dimaggio and rizzuto caffine, kirby puckett and rickey henderson steroids, every generation did something, who cares lets move on.