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tehehd Profile
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Registered: 10-2006
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thehed's column


posted on the mule forum as well. likely too long for attention spans?

Sportswriters: Holier than thou

“Modern drug fueled athletes are a disgrace to their sports, and should most certainly be punished.” Sound familiar? This is the rallying cry of just about every talking head and sportswriter over the past 5 years in the wake of all the doping scandals. Scandals ranging from the Tour de France to Home Run record chases. The readers and fans have eaten it all up like a pregnant woman with a tub of ice cream.

Naturally much of these writers, talking heads, and fans have never participated in any athletics past high school. The easiest thing for anyone is to throw rocks at people sitting on pedestals. The public seems to revel in the schadenfreude of celebrities, athletes, and politicians thus creating a culture that does more “player hating” than actual achievement themselves. What’s easier than playing Monday morning quarterback? Nothing. The truth is that all this judgment being handed down by the public opinion is fueled by jealousy.

In light of the recent Mitchell Report produced my George Mitchell, seems everyone is taking their free shots at the names dropped. Those already disliking players mentioned are especially gleeful in their stone throwing. What’s commonly missing here however, is the reasons behind the drug use, it’s legitimate uses, and the viewing of the players as actual “people” as opposed to the demi-god status commonly associated with these men and women. Similar to many of the responses from those interviewed for the Mitchell Report, the court of public opinion focuses on the wrong points and asks the wrong questions.

The why behind the use of PED’s seems obvious on the surface: gain advantage for victory. Did we ever think about the other reasons in play? Especially with all the negativity around HGH. Were these players looking for an unfair edge, or just looking to get back on the field faster? In light of Any Pettite’s comments, it seems many HGH users were merely trying to heal injuries. Is this considered “cheating?” Clearly the resounding public answer is an emphatic yes. Any athlete that has competed at the college or pro level is painfully familiar with injuries, and know that you are never 100% healthy. There is always some nagging sprain, strain, or worse. What is so wrong with trying to heal faster given our advanced technology that can accommodate faster healing? In any other field, technology advances are embraced and considered progress, but in sports we don’t want to know how bad it hurts, but how you missed that play. This is the disconnect, we expect the best as fans, but are unwilling to consider the human side of the athlete shamelessly offering steady streams of criticism while eating jelly donuts at the keyboard.

The staggering irony that fails to garner recognition is in the sportswriters themselves. Let’s take a look at the two reporters for the San Francisco Chronicle. They published leaked grand jury testimony in an effort to “out the cheaters,” and as they responded to me in an email, “protect the children.” Grand jury testimony is supposed to remain sealed and not for public consumption in the interest of a fair legal process, not be used to advance one’s journalism career. In conclusion, these guys “cheated” to show everyone that Barry Bonds and Jason Giambi are in fact “cheaters.” The players are bad people now, and unworthy of their accomplishments in their eyes. Have these so called “journalists” ever faced the pressure of 50,000 people booing them for not living up to a $10 million dollar contract? I think not. In addition, their main goal was to tarnish the legacy of these players through illegal means in hopes of advancing their own retirement accounts and careers. They will vehemently argue that they were not getting rich off the successive book that was a best seller. How many authors don’t make a killing on a best seller? Perhaps they should re evaluate their representation, and if they did cash in with the book, they are now themselves lying to protect their image in the court of public opinion. Do their actions make the athletes actions right and justified? Certainly not, but their lying and cheating has added to the already mammoth embarrassment to the players and their families.

Baseball players have been the focus of the outcry and criticism, yet football players get the free pass. When Shawn Merriman tested positive, his reputation was hardly attacked, and after a 4 game suspension played in the Pro Bowl. Fans have failed to discount his statistics as false or tainted. Barry Bonds was described as “looking like a linebacker.” Did anyone think to ask how linebackers look like linebackers? Does anyone ask questions when an offensive lineman comes out of college at 275 lbs, and after 2 years in the NFL is playing at 320 lbs? What about tailbacks that come into the leagues at 200 lbs and mushroom up to 220 without losing a step? Nobody seems to be too desperate to have a muti million dollar investigation, or congressional hearings to discuss the dirty laundry of a steroid riddled league for the better part of 4 decades.

Our favorite athletes are heros to us as fans, and we are saddened by their flaws and mistakes. Because of this, we fail to understand that they are just like us, citizens trying to make a living the best we can. It seems the justification of our judgments often revolves around the fact that these players are so wealthy, and our jealousy of their wealth and success allows us to be judge, jury, and executioner. Often times the athletes whose names are drug through the mud deserve the criticism, but in the process they ones doing the dragging act as though they never had errors in judgment. They act as though they would know the correct decisions to make when there are millions of dollars and their families’ futures at stake. They act as though they would most certainly sacrifice the money and children’s futures for the moral higher ground. Yet on multiple occasions the mudslingers commit their own moral missteps in the slinging effort. How many of us who marvel at these athletes’ wealth would be willing to bend some of the same moral boundaries for our own advancement into the same circle of fame and fortune? Maybe not all perhaps, but certainly many who are standing on their moral ground in judgment of these players, would likely be surprised at their own actions, given the same situations the players have been through. Much of the public standing on their moral ground discounting these athletes accomplishments, have at some point fudged a resume to get a better job, bent the rules to close a sale, been less than truthful with their superior at work, and often times lie to their friends and families to protect their reputation.

Now major league baseball, and the American government have taken it upon themselves to get to the bottom of this so called, “scandal.” The same wealthy team owners, high level managers, and politicians that might not be as vocal should their moral missteps and questionable decisions they made on their way to the top be exposed. Bud Selig was widely praised by himself and others for bringing back baseball following the disaster of a strike in the early 1990’s. He was a huge benefactor of the great steroid fueled home run chases by Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire. He claims to be oblivious to the problem until the public outcry comes knocking at his door, then he takes the authoritative and moral stance to “clean up the game.” Who wasn’t aware of amphetamines as a regular part of a major league clubhouse? Seriously, “greenies” were accepted as part of the game in the public eye ever since Jim Bunton’s Ball Four classic. In addition, steroids have been a part of American sports for over 40 years, but now all of a sudden they are a problem worthy of congressional hearings? Laughable at best are the high moral grounds these men stand on. They are merely acting as the politicians they are, playing to the hot topic of the day in hopes of bolstering their own public moralist image. They are using the steroid subject as a means to get ahead, just like the athletes themselves.

Spare me the moral ground, and clean up the game nonsense. The public opinion, talking heads, sports columnists, politicians, and owners of pro sports teams are no better than the athletes who used technological advances in hopes of making a better living.



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"in the early days all i hoped was to make a living out of what i did best. but, since there's no real market for masturbation i had to fall back on my bass playing abilities."

les claypool
12/17/2007, 1:29 pm Link to this post   
 
Lionel Mandrake Profile
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Well written, hed.

I can say that the only glee I feel in casting stones is when other fans look at some of their stars and finally admit that Barry was not alone. And yes, I believe in natural ability and only that when it comes to any kind of sports even if it means quicker recovery and not just massive muscle growth. Unless there is a day when a product is deemed 100% safe for all human beings, I will stand by that notion. I believe in product safety as much as I do a level playing field.

Where your point is resoundingly correct is if us fans expect a level playing field in sports, where in the heck does it exist in every day life? It doesn't and as long as people are motivated by greed, it won't. You just have to be able to live with yourself if you choose to bend the rules.

How did you know where my doughnuts are?

---
Even after all this time, the Sun never says to the Earth, "You owe me." Look what happens with a love like that: It lights up the whole sky.
Hafiz
12/17/2007, 2:09 pm Link to this post   
 
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Where's the remote, I want to change the channel.

(this is actually in support of your "likely too long for attention spans", the TV generation.)

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Do not suggest trading for somebody for only two years (unless the Giants dump a crappy contract)
12/17/2007, 2:27 pm Link to this post   
 
tehehd Profile
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Re: thehed's column


living here in sd, seeing a syringe on the field (i was at the game), and knowing that the giles brothers are widely recognized as big time juicers since high school is laughable. same with the merriman thing. plus, caminiti, nevin, klesko et all were all the padres bast players for years.

---
"in the early days all i hoped was to make a living out of what i did best. but, since there's no real market for masturbation i had to fall back on my bass playing abilities."

les claypool
12/17/2007, 2:45 pm Link to this post   
 
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Yes, hypocrisy is bullshit.

Having gone to St. Louise last year to watch the Giants win a game, I challenged the Tardinal fans around me if they booed McGwire like they were booing Bonds. No responses.

---
Even after all this time, the Sun never says to the Earth, "You owe me." Look what happens with a love like that: It lights up the whole sky.
Hafiz
12/17/2007, 4:03 pm Link to this post   
 
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Re: thehed's column


I can't agree on the player hating issue.

I regard it as one of my more positive achievements to have developed an intense hatred for the Dogs.

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My Border Collie is smarter than your honor student.
12/17/2007, 4:41 pm Link to this post   
 
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Re: …


quote:

MarcoPolo666 wrote:

Where's the remote, I want to change the channel.

(this is actually in support of your "likely too long for attention spans", the TV generation.)



I read it all. It took 3 or 4 sittings though emoticon

Great job tehehd, this should be on the best sellers instead of that joke of a book Game of Shadows, more like Shadow Journalism.

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12/18/2007, 1:10 am Link to this post   
 
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I agree, and yet, I feel I'm a target. emoticon

Good writing, hed.

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SFDugout.com - It's back! Top 50 Giants Prospects currently running!
12/18/2007, 2:09 am Link to this post   
 


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