Question re: Mark McGwire and Steriod Use January 11, 2010Posted by Evil Bender in Drugs, sports.
Tags: baseball, Mark McGwire
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Generally, I’m right on board with John Amato, but I have to take issue with this post.
This is a complete sham and his half hearted apology is ridiculous. How do you think the Maris family feels now after being party to the scam back in 1998 when he hit home run number 62 and they stood there watching him? ESPN’s Baseball Tonight acted like part of the PR campaign designed by the Cardinals to ease him back into the spotlight. And McGwire is only being hired to be the damn hitting coach.
Since no one seems interested in remembering this, McGwire retired in 2001, two years before the first steroid testing policy was in place, and four years before the first MLB player was suspended for PED use. So his offense, his “scam” that has Amato so upset, is that he used substances that Baseball had only explicitly banned in 1991, and never bothered to test for. No players were penalized for PED use, because MLB made no attempt to catch anyone who was “cheating” in this manner.
So, if your boss told you using Facebook on company time was against the rules, but also made it explicit that she would make no effort to enforce that policy, and in fact would make a point to avoid checking to see if you ever used Facebook at work, and that there would be no outlined penalty for such use–would anyone consider it surprising, or indeed unreasonable, that you took that as a tacit endorsement of your steroid Facebook use?
Furthermore, would anyone seriously expect workers to abide by such a “policy”?
Perhaps that example is unfair. Would it be fair of me to tell my students not to copy one another’s work, but made it clear I wouldn’t notice if they did so and would not penalize any of them for doing so?
Now imagine my students have a huge personal, social and financial investment in maximizing their grade. We might not approve of their cheating, but surely outrage at it is misplaced. If anyone should be the target of outrage, it should be their foolish and irresponsible teacher.
Snark aside, I’m not saying I approve of anyone using PEDs, especially illegal ones. And now that there is a policy in baseball, I want cheaters punished. But the Players’ Association, MLB, sports media, and indeed the fans benefited heavily from said “scam.” Mark McGwire felt an entirely reasonable drive to succeed, to be the best at what he did. We cheered him for it. We want our atheletes to be the best, and we demand nothing less from them.
At the very least, isn’t our outrage now that we know he used every advantage–including ones that were against uninforced “rules”–a little ridiculous?
(And, to head off the most obvious line of counter-attack, we can talk about the sanctity of the numbers once we have a time machine to disallow segregation.)
Analogies that just don’t work: football and dogfighting edition October 12, 2009Posted by Evil Bender in Morality, sports.
So those of you with very strong stomachs can read this piece on “Football, dog fighting and brain damage,” which has a disturbing and important point to make about the substantial dangers football players face. That’s a worthwhile subject, and I wish everyone working to shed light on the dangers of the sport the best of luck.
But I have to say, I find the comparison to dog fighting which informs the essay to be repulsive. Malcolm Gladwell avoids making the implications of the comparison explicit, and carefully sidesteps drawing direct moral equivalence, but in my reading the implication is clear, and I don’t appear to be the only one.
So the question is, as Paul Campos asks, why is dog fighting more morally repugnant than football?
The answer, it seems to me, is simple: football involves adults who willingly engage in a high-risk livelihood. Dog fighting is a “sport” in which animals who have no choice are tortured for human amusement. Dog fighting is much more morally repugnant than football for the same reason gladiatorial contests would be. This isn’t just about level of potential injury, but about consent: professional athletes can give it, dogs cannot.
Before anyone suggests otherwise, I don’t mean to suggest that we shouldn’t do more to protect athletes, nor that football doesn’t present some morally difficult situations. But it is quite simply no comparison to an activity where powerless beings are tortured for the amusement of those with the power. Yes, I know we can perform a class and race analysis of football, and I’m open to that. But highly paid professionals taking risks with their own health is simply not comparable to the horrors dog fighting visits upon dogs.
Honestly, I thought this sort of distinction went without saying, at least among thinking people. Maybe I was wrong.
Oakland Raider’s new coach: hating them will be as easy as ever February 4, 2009Posted by Evil Bender in sports, Things I Hate.
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Per my previous declaration, no politics posts for a while. Instead, you have to put up with me ranting about sports. Or not–I mean, all three of the readers of this blog can wander on if they’re not interested in sports. Those that are, more below the fold:
Superbowl Prediction January 30, 2009Posted by Evil Bender in Blogging, sports.
…which, oddly, is the prediction I heard Jay Mariotti make, even as I was in the process of finishing this post.
My Superbowl plan is to have a couple friends over, and eat food prepared with green chile. What’s yours?