The issue of baseball and steroids is not new news. It has tainted the game in a similar way the player strike did in the 90’s. MLB’s answer is a very strict testing and punishment protocol for any players that test positive for performance enhancing drugs. Truth is cheating has been going on in baseball for a long time. Longer than most of us know, or want to know. The wave of the steroid topic first hit the news a couple years ago, and every now and then it gets another shot in the arm.
Yankees first basemen/DH Jason Giambi was quoted as saying, “I was wrong for doing that stuff. What we should have done a long time ago was stand up — players, ownership, everybody — and said, ‘We made a mistake.’”
So, in short, Giambi is essentially admitting that he took steroids. Not only that, but he was implying people besides the players knew what was going on. Since this story hit, MLB has been investigating the issue very seriously, as it promised it would with every individual performance enhancing drug case. There are talks about the Yankees terminating his contract and MLB implementing further punishments for Giambi.
Something about this rubs me the wrong way.
I have no objection to random drug testing and punishments for any players who are tested positive. But to punish one of the only players who is stepping forward and being honest about what he did in the past just seems wrong.
Look, we know a lot of players took steroids. We also know that very few have come forward to admit it. Most are lying or avoiding the issue all together. Now what we have is MLB punishing the few honest enough to admit it.
What makes the steroid issue so serious is the message it is sending. Baseball is supposed to be a “pure” sport; our national pastime. Now, the sport has been tainted by cheating. MLB is trying to send the message, especially to children, that cheating is wrong and those who do it will not come out on top, but MLB is missing the opportunity to send a another message; a better message.
This is what I propose. 1) Continue random drug testing. MLB has been clear on its rules for a while now and if you are caught with your hand in the cookie jar, punishment should ensue. But, here’s the kicker: 2) grant amnesty to all players who admit using drugs in the past. MLB has made it clear they are serious, but the cost of coming forward is so high that the majority of players are keeping quiet.
This will not leave players free and clear, by any means. Baseball, after all, is about the fans. Let the fans decide if they still want to stand behind their baseball heroes once they have stepped forward and said, “I made a mistake.”
The important message here is honesty. By granting amnesty to players, it will let those who are worthy of our respect step forward and admit their mistake. Let those who want to sit in the shadows stay there - that’s how they should be remembered anyway.