Wednesday, August 03, 2005

It was the supplements dude!

The recent 10 day steroid related suspensions of Baltimore slugger (and former Peoria Chief) Rafeal Palmeiro and Seattle Pitcher Ryan Franklin have produced the expected responses in our truth challenged era.

To no one's surprise, of course, both players denied having ever taken steroids.

Well - to be precise - in Palmeiro's case, he has moved from the Bill Clinton approach (strong and convincing original denial of illicit activity) and he seems to have taken his latest statements right out of the Barry Bonds playbook.

Palmeiro has since modified his original statement that was delivered to congress ("I have never taken steroids[!]"), so that he's now saying: "I never intentionally took steroids."

You see, empirical evidence has a way of changing stories rather quickly so that those original stories eventually become subjected to the death of a thousand qualifications.

“This is want I really meant when I said…”

Perhaps it was flax seed oil Raf.

Anything (and I mean anything!) to avoid the consequences of bad (or even illegal) decisions. Cheap commodities [like truth] are easily sacrificed on the altar of expediency in such situations.

Now, in Franklin's case, he's suggesting that nutritional supplements were behind his recent positive tests. He never actually intentionally took steroids either – it’s all just been a big and unfortunate misunderstanding – now can we just get back to the game?

What do you want to bet that we'll be hearing more and more about those villainous nutritional supplements from suspended athletes in the future?

GNC is in for a beating in the coming months I'm afraid… a convenient whipping boy for players desperate to escape accountability.

And if you think about it, the current situation in major league baseball is somewhat analogous to the situation in prison - no one in the lock-up is actually guilty either.

Since our country seems to have lost its moral compass - things like this are judged to be relatively minor in the grand scheme of things, or so we're told.

In the case of our former truth challenged President, it's what he lied about that's important, and since the matter was private and (allegedly) unimportant in Bill Clinton's case, the significance of the lie was marginalized.

After all, if he lies with regard to "small" matters, he probably wouldn't lie with regard to more substantial matters. He would do the honorable thing and tell the truth with regard to more substantial matters, even if it was at great personal cost to himself – right?

Remember, a person's fundamental character doesn't matter - it's more substantial matters like what they do with the economy - stupid. And those were glorious economic years, so who really cares about the peccadilloes of an admittedly irresponsible commander-in-chief (and besides, he looked so charming dancing with those cute little African kids on international television).

In the same way - who really cares about steroids or lies or outdated concepts like the integrity of the game. We’ve had some glorious years in baseball – we’ve seen records shattered and fans have flocked back to the game in record numbers. Get over it!

And besides, these guys are only hurting themselves - so what's the big deal?!


All of this is simply the natural consequence of an artificially constructed ethic that judges the propriety of actions based solely on the significance of the activity and the effect(s) those actions have on others. If it’s a minor matter and only hurts the person involved – what’s the big deal?

In the final analysis, the steroid scandal (dare we even call it that?) in major league baseball is really only symptomatic of a much larger malaise that has infected this country – moral laxity and permissiveness that prevails at a societal level.

And it ain’t getting better any time soon.