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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A Few Thoughts on McGwire's Admission

In the pinnacle scene in the movie Quiz Show, the main character, Charles Van Doren, finally comes clean in his own involvement in the scam in which constestants were fed answers ahead of time on the quiz show, 21. That admission was followed by a series of lawmakers congratulating Van Doren for his integrity and honesty in admitting his faults. Finally, after a series of lawmakers congratulated Van Doren, the scene ended with this statement.

Congressman Derounian: I'm happy that you've made the statement. But I cannot agree with most of my colleagues. See, I don't think an adult of your intellegence should be commended for simply, at long last, telling the truth.

When McGwire admitted that he cheated, I shrugged. After all, we already knew that. I know why he admitted it now. Now that he's hitting coach for the Cardinals, he didn't want this to be a distraction so he admitted deep in the offseason. That way it becomes a major story now but it won't be a major destraction as the season goes along.

If that's the reason, I don't really care. I, for one, hope that Mark McGwire spends the rest of his life redeeming himself. I don't much buy his admission or his reasons. To say that he only did steroids to recover for injury is a reason, if that's the reason, and not an excuse. He cheated and he shamed the game. Everyone deserves a second chance and that includes McGwire but that goes forward.

What bugged me was the series of athletes that took the approach to McGwire that lawmakers took to Van Doren. Here's what Tony LaRussa and Bud Selig said.

I'm really encouraged that he would step forward," La Russa told ESPN. "As we go along his explanations will be well received."

Selig, in a statement released by Major League Baseball on Monday, said he was pleased with McGwire's admission.

"I am pleased that Mark McGwire has confronted his use of performance-enhancing substances as a player. Being truthful is always the correct course of action, which is why I had commissioned Senator George Mitchell to conduct his investigation. This statement of contrition, I believe, will make Mark's re-entry into the game much smoother and easier," Selig said.

There are others like it. John Kruk was all over ESPN telling everyone that he'll never know how good he could have been if he had cheated the way almost everyone around him did. McGwire, and others like him, robbed guys like John Kruk who played clean. That's what people should focus on. No one should be congratulating McGwire for at long last telling the truth. There's no nobility in that. I hope that McGwire finds peace and redemption but now is the time to confront the fact that he cheated and nothing else.

1 comment:

AG said...

For all McGwire's belief that the 'roids didn't improve his performance, his statement made the exact opposite impression in my mind. The conventional wisdom is that steroids will make a good player great, a great player a hall of famer, and a hall of famer into a legend. Well, considering how long McGwire admitted to using them, now I can't help but wonder if steroids really can make just a good player straight into a legend.

That being said, there's the issue of performance enhancing drugs not being banned by the league until very recently. On top of that, its not like cheating in baseball was unusual before this. For all the asterisk mania going on, I think baseball just needs to live with it.

Finally, I also find it odd just how upset McGwire looked. If he doesn't think the steroids made him a better player just a faster healer, why did he feel the need to apologize to the Maris family? The worst they can do to him is deny him the hall of fame. Not take any of the millions he made cheating in baseball, just the approval of a handful of sportswriters. Seems a little contrived if you ask me.