Monday, January 11, 2010

Mark McGwire: "I Did It..."

Mark McGwire finally gave a full acknowledgement and apology for steroids use during his career.

It’s about time. He made a complete ass of himself in the meek “cover-your-ass” manner he responded when grilled on Capitol Hill with his constant statements repeating, “….I’m here to talk about the future….”

Those watching that circus were screaming, “BALONEY.”

Today his remarks take on a different tone. How the sports world will react remains uncertain as there is much more to learn.

It's very emotional, it's telling family members, friends and coaches, you know, it's former teammates to try to get ahold of, you know, that I'm coming clean and being honest," … "It's the first time they've ever heard me, you know, talk about this. I hid it from everybody."

The most obvious focus of McGwire’s acknowledgement is that he was the first player to break Roger Maris’s homerun record of 61 hitting 70 round trippers in 1998 must be seen as a tainted record. While Maris was forced to have his record marked with an asterisk because he hit his 61 homers in a 162 game season longer than Babe Ruth’s, what can be said of McGwire’s and then Barry Bonds’ records?

We believe all players involved in performance enhancing substances must come forward, admit their actions, and be responsible. In return, they should be promised or assured nothing. It’s simply the right thing to do.

McGwire could have entered the Hall of Fame with Cal Ripken Jr. and Tony Gwynn 2007. Baseball writers clearly sent a message not supporting his induction by a wide margin. He has not done better in subsequent elections.

The Hall of Fame claims to mean more than simply a player’s on the field accomplishments. As such, the steroid users who don’t accept responsibility for their actions and Pete Rose for gambling on the game invalidate their claim to Hall of Fame Status.

Having seen what happened when steroids raged out of control in the NFL in the 1970’s and watching former star defender, Lyle Alzado physically and mentally fall to pieces dying a miserable young death should have been all the warning ever needed to put steroids out of the picture. Ironically, the steroid craze in baseball was only just beginning when Alzado died.

The steroid players are perhaps too young for the world to know just how seriously they could have destroyed their health abusing their bodies with such drugs. The fate of their Faustian deal with the Devil remains an open book, but the message is clear from baseball to the NFL to NASCAR, there is no place for performance enhancing drugs in athletics. They not only have a responsibility to themselves and their sports but everyone who follows them to do the right thing. Like it or not, their behavior does serve as models for young people and such behavior is learned young.

Mark McGwire is on the road to earning back his respect. Today’s action closes nothing but serves as a positive beginning.

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