The news that Mark McGwire used steroids is not surprising.
What is also not surprising, but incredibly disappointing, is the titanic and hypocritical self-righteousness which still accompanies the issue. McGwire is a Hall-of-Famer who is being denied because he used steroids. This represents the apex of blaming the player — and only the players — for the rampant use of performance enhancing drugs throughout the game. The completely ignores that:
The owners certainly knew who was using and who wasn’t. As the Mitchell Report made clear, teams do not make $100 million investments without knowing what players are putting into their bodies.
Either the media knew or their much-ballyhooed “inside access” is a load of crap. The Sports Media Twerps are constantly telling us how their access to players and their inside knowledge makes them so much smarter than the rest of us. How could the SMTs have such insider information and not know what was going on? How could they turn on the reporter who found that McGwire was using Andro? I think that’s why the press is so vicious and judgmental on the steroid issue. They are compensating for their own complicity. Shame on them.
The fans knew or suspected what was going on. I mean, we knew Mac was taking Andro. We at least suspected that Canseco was using. But we didn’t care as long as homers flew out of parks. We looked the other way and cheered the juicers, which just encouraged more use. Then, suddenly, we got religion when someone we didn’t like — Barry Bonds — broke the home run record. We’re content, of course, to ignore the obvious drug abuse in football.
The players did steroids, in part, because they were allowed to. They did them because the owners, the press and the fans knew what was going on and were happy to ignore it. When we suddenly decided PEDs were bad, we refused to take any responsibility. Instead, we have heaped scorn only on the players. They are, after all, rich and popular, so we have to tear them down, right?
Screw that. I’m all in favor of a clean game. But I’m not in favor of white-washing the past and blaming the most convenient party. It’s time to admit what we allowed to happen.
Update: Incidentally, the commish knew about steroids in 1993.