What do Lance Armstrong, Alex Rodriquez, and Ray Lewis all have in common?
We fell in love with all of them.
Remember that summer of ’99, when you never knew if Sosa or McGwire were going to break Maris’ record. They both did, rejuvenating our country to love baseball again.
Remember when we it was considered absolute certainty that A-Rod would break all ‘all-time home run records’, surpassing Hank Aaron and Barry Bonds, and unlike Bonds, A-Rod would not be tainted by steroids? Those were the days…
Looking back on a year of Schmoozify, our first, it is striking to learn about how much we have learned about our beloved sports heroes. Last year, we knew about Bonds, Clemmons, and A-Rod (the first time).
But this year we found out that those who vote on the Baseball Hall of Fame would ignore some of the game’s most famous players like Bonds, Clemmons, and Sosa. Why? Steroids.
Last week, on the same day, A-Rod was linked to PEDs again, so was football player Ray Lewis. While I am not sure about Ray Lewis’ guilt, many critics say it is strange how quickly he came back (3 months) from an injury that usually keeps people out a year.
These people are scum.
Or are they?
Was it not us who loved the home run chase for those magical summers? Didn’t ‘chicks dig the long ball’?
Is it not we who praises Ray Lewis (not to mention his connection or lack thereof to a murder case) as one of the greatest ever? Aren’t we moved by his pre-game and post-game motivational speeches?
Didn’t we all buy LiveStrong bracelets and pretend to care about the Tour de’ France because Lance Armstrong was in it?
How can we place all the blame on these people and none on ourselves?
I know baseball purists will hate me, but also consider this logic. We pay athletes because we, as spectators, want to see something great. We want to be in the presence of greatness, of something that has never been done before, and something truly entertaining. So why should we care if the people we pay to entertain us dope? It’s one thing if they are crack addicts, but they are just trying to improve their physical specimen so that they can become legends.
Suddenly, the Hall of Fame or the World Doping Association or the IOC strips these perpetrators of their wins, medals, and place in our hearts. We hate them. But we should keep in mind that we are the Frankenstein, creating our athletic monsters.
I hear the critics now…But what about the children? The children?!?!?
Let’s encourage all high schools and universities to issue intense drug testing of athletes. These players, after all, are not paid. Let’s lay down the law on any offenders.
But once they are at the pro-level, which is purely a profitable industry in all aspects, let’s produce the best product. Ideally, PEDs would not be used. But when we demand the best and we reward it, we should not act so surprised when the ‘best’ is supplemented by something created in the lab.
So what –
Those baseball players should be in the Hall of Fame. I think Lance Armstrong is probably a terrible person but that he definitely won those Tour de’ France races. I think A-Rod is obnoxious but he is still a great baseball player. I think Marion Jones was a great track star. She won those races! I think Roger Clemmons is one of the best pitchers ever.
Let’s not celebrate that they cheated, but let’s not pretend that it was the cheating that made them great. Our praise, our cheers, our money made them great. We rewarded them for being gladiators in their sport, entertaining us in service of the almighty dollar. Do you regret it?
After all, don’t ‘chicks still dig the long ball’?
…………………………………………..And…what about Manti Te’o?!!??!!!??!??!?!?!?!!