Dirty, Dirty, Dirty…Is It A Shame? And Whose Shame Is It?

February 07, 2009 |

SI.com is reporting that Alex Rodriguez tested positive for two types of steroids in 2003 as part of a voluntary, sealed agreement between the MLBPA and the Commissioner’s Office to help determine the extent of performance enhancing drug use in the sport.  These tests were discovered by Federal Agents as part of the ongoing investigation into the BALCO case in 2004.  1,198 players were tested randomly in 2003, and 104 tested positive.  Including ARod.

This raises a few questions in my mind, most of which are troubling or have no answer, which could be even more troubling.  Such as:

Alex Rodriguez used steroids?  Why this doesn’t come as a surprise to me is troubling.

104 players total tested positive in ’03?  I would very much like to know the rest of the names.  But clearly, Rodriguez is the big fish here.  Something tells me there are plenty of journeymen included, as previous testing results have shown.

Why does all of this produce more of a yawn from me than shock or outrage?

That is clearly the issue at play here.  Years and years of watching records get smashed, players get bigger and 40 yard dash times get lower has produced a very jaundiced eye, both individually and collectively, to the lifelong sports fan.  We can question it all we want, but the hard truth is that what we pay to see is not clean, not genuine, not within the capabilities of “pure” human performance, and not going to change anytime in the forseeable future.

Ever heard of Human Growth Hormone?  And yes, there is no test available without drawing blood.  Which violates privacy laws for every professional leagues’ bargaining agreements.

So I am preparing to hear plenty of stories regarding HGH in, oh, sometime around 2020.  And honestly, not one of them will surprise me in the least.

Have we reached the point of oversaturation when it comes to reports like this?  When a “bombshell” such as ARod using steroids arrives, what does it say about me as a sports fan that I shrug my shoulders instead of being genuinely shocked?  I suppose it says, more than anything, that I accept the fact that cheaters have long prospered in sports as well as life.  And that everything I watch, every game I attend, is populated by people who will do anything in an effort to gain a competetive edge in order to gain financially when that next contract is negotiated.

The truth is that there is no moral to the story.  Because morality is absent in the conversation of cheating.  And that is what this is, cheating.  Nothing more, nothing less.

So Arod is a cheater?  AFraud?  Wow.  I would never have suspected.

Quite frankly, I’m worn out and that makes me a bit indifferent to stories such as this.  Call me a crank, call me a cynic, and you’d be justified in doing so, but take a moment and scroll back through your mind to McGwire/Sosa in ’98, Bonds from ’99 on, football linemen who weigh 340 pounds and run 4.9 second 40 yard dashes, and you’ll get a bit exhausted by it as well. 

There is no end in sight to these matters.  That is the ultimate, and saddest, truth of the whole story.  And if you can honestly answer these questions, then perhaps you accept that what you see isn’t genuine and earnestly gained:

Does it matter to you as a sports fan at all?


Why do we continue to watch?