Friday, December 14, 2007
Steroids - Lame Arguments
--Steve Robinson, Managing Editor, CNN Special Investigations Unit

If you've toiled as a journalist in the steroid vineyards as long as I have--some 20 years now-you've heard every single excuse for why it's really no big deal. (So don't send me any-I'm begging you.) Still, I have my personal favorites among the lame justifications for why we should let these guys off the hook:

If steroids were around when Babe Ruth was playing he'd have used them.
OK. News flash: They weren't, so he didn't. We are all products of the times in which we live. No, the Babe didn't get the chance to decide whether he wanted to use steroids, but neither did he have the opportunity to sign the Declaration of Independence or get in on the ground floor of an internet IPO. During the Wall St. buyout boom of the '80s some financiers went too far and broke the law. Many others didn't. In the '80s and '90s, when steroids were rampant in sports, some athletes went too far and broke the law. But many others didn't. In our own way, in our own time, whatever that time may be, we are all faced with a menu of choices. Some make the right ones. Others don't. What would the Babe have done? What difference does it make?

Who are you to pass judgment on these guys? Don't you break the speed limit every day on your way to work??
This is called moral equivalence, and it is a tired debating strategy employed by apologists for the inexcusable--Stalinists, for instance, who tried to dismiss the horrors of the Soviet Union by arguing that the U.S. did some bad things, too. Yes, I drive too fast and sometimes I even help my daughter with a school project when I'm not supposed to. But I don't dump where the sign says "no dumping allowed" and I haven't asked my personal trainer to stick a needle in my butt so that I can take advantage of the positive effects of an illegal drug. So, what was your point again?

Steroids, shmeroids-you still have to make contact with the ball.
How true. Of course, by the time a guy gets to the Major Leagues he has pretty well mastered the art of making contact with the ball. How far that ball travels once contact is made is a function of bat speed, and bat speed is a function of strength, which comes from... Are you keeping up?

The stuff can't really do you any harm, if you're careful about how you take it.
This is generally said by those who love to sit in the front row to watch the steroid freaks of pro wrestling or those who are disappointed if a baseball game doesn't end in a 17-14 score with 10 homeruns. These are also the same people who would never dream of allowing their own kid to take anything stronger than Excedrin.

These guys never asked to be declared role models.
I'll buy that. But then they ought to return all the money they get from endorsements, most of which comes from products marketed to kids.
Posted By CNN: 2:38 PM ET
  9 Comments
I'll make this short, to me it's all about purity of the sport. People who run track can't take drugs, why should baseball players be allowed? It is all about the purity of the sport.
Posted By Anonymous Jess, Paris, KY : 3:25 PM ET
All the justifications for steriod use such as "everyone does it", "you still have to make contact with the ball", etc. makes me think that these baseball players JUST DON'T GET IT! First, they are role models for our youth. Maybe they don't want to be, but guess what? Part of the big salaries that they get as players is because they are role models. Secondly, steriod use gives you an UNFAIR advantage.... Not everyone uses them, therefore it is plain and simple cheating!!! Now what does it tell young kids that looked up to certain players, and kept track of baseball statistics? That its okay to cheat. That you can win if you cheat? Not just in baseball, but in anything. This is a really sad mark in American History.
Posted By Anonymous Pebbla : 4:25 PM ET
All the justifications for steriod use such as "everyone does it", "you still have to make contact with the ball", etc. makes me think that these baseball players JUST DON'T GET IT! First, they are role models for our youth. Maybe they don't want to be, but guess what? Part of the big salaries that they get as players is because they are role models. Secondly, steriod use gives you an UNFAIR advantage.... Not everyone uses them, therefore it is plain and simple cheating!!! Now what does it tell our kids that looked up to certain players, and kept track of baseball statistics? That its okay to cheat. You can win if you cheat? Not just in baseball, but in other things in life. This is a really sad mark in American History.
Posted By Anonymous Pebbla : 4:28 PM ET
Right thats what I'm sayin!

..Some may say that the shame alone is a fair enough punishment for these guys, but I say the only excuse that would be exceptable in this case is if they took the podium and said "Dude, two words Small Balls...". That could be shame enough. I mean, when your trying to throw a pitch and end up playing a round of golf instead you may have a problem.

And the fact that these 'clubs' say they didn't know is bull. It's kind of like Bush saying the CIA went rouge in destroying those 'tapes'. They may not have KNOWN known, but they basically gave the nod to say 'do what you have to do'.

Plus they order the equiptment, they should have realized something was up, when there was the rise in bigger hard hats and smaller cup size purchases.

=Carlos from NJ
Posted By Anonymous Carlos C. : 5:06 PM ET
Right thats what I'm sayin!

..Some may say that the shame alone is a fair enough punishment for these guys, but I say the only excuse that would be exceptable in this case is if they took the podium and said "Dude, two words Small Balls...". That could be shame enough. I mean, when your trying to throw a pitch and end up playing a round of golf instead you may have a problem.

And the fact that these 'clubs' say they didn't know is bull. It's kind of like Bush saying the CIA went rouge in destroying those 'tapes'. They may not have KNOWN known, but they basically gave the nod to say 'do what you have to do'.

Plus they order the equiptment, they should have realized something was up, when there was the rise in bigger hard hats and smaller cup size purchases.

=Carlos from NJ
Posted By Anonymous Carlos C. : 5:08 PM ET
In my opinion any excuse that can be used for steroid use is lame!! Cheating is cheating...there is no way around that!!

Cynthia, Covington, Ga.
Posted By Blogger Cindy : 5:09 PM ET
Steve/AC360:
A wee bit heated about the steroids used by athletes?

You have a right to be. It seems so un-natural.

Like anything that involves money and status, there is an excuse for any dastardly deed. Whether it is justifying conduct unbecoming a professional athlete or rationalizing the use of steroids to meet the needs of the fans, it is just plain wrong.

Murder, dog fights, steroid use, and gambling are not exactly what the fans of professional sports are looking for in watching competitive sports. If it is gladiators we wanted to watch, we will watch reality TV. Otherwise, I would like to watch the "real thing" with natural talent confronting other natural talent in a game.

Thanks for blowing some steam, Steve!
Posted By Blogger Sharon from Indy : 5:28 PM ET
Why doesn't MLB just provide these players with sanctioned steroids. It would level the playing field (no pun intended).
Posted By Anonymous rock m. - dubuque, ia. : 5:50 PM ET
Taking steroids is like getting posted on the 360 blog, everyone does it (writes comments) but nobody will fess up to the secret of winning...or in this case to get your comment posted! (cheating? won't go that far but there is a list of the same people who get posted everyday!LOL)
Posted By Anonymous Lilly, Austin : 7:44 PM ET
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