Friday, December 10, 2004

Be proud, ye hypocrites

Why are we outraged? Why are we shocked? Even if we never saw the steroid issue coming to a head, we should have envisioned something similar, some other form of nefarious activity taking place in clubhouses around the land.

Why? It’s simple, really. Because ours — for better, or more often, for worse — is a society based on people cheating their way to the top. Yeah, I’m sure some people in the 1950s found ways around rules — NASCAR drivers have been doing it for years.

Even the Oakland Raiders of the 1970s would beat you physically, mentally and emotionally before wiping the Stickum off of their hands at the end of a game.

So why, then, is everyone outraged at Barry Bonds, Gary Sheffield, Jason Giambi and the other 5-7 percent of those who tested positive in 2003? (Realize right now that I don’t condone steroid use and think it’s bad for the game — but at the same time, I see why the players took that route).

How can our nation honestly be upset over players doing whatever they can to endure and prevail – legal or not - when the leader of the free world cheated to get into his current position? (At least the first time around, but we all know there are serious issues with the 2004 election process as well).

The daughter of a multi-billionaire cheats her way through USC (thankfully, it turns out, so we could get her damn name off of our new basketball arena). If anyone ever DIDN’T need to cheat, it would be her – she never has to hold a real job, never has to do anything herself – and wanted that to carry over into her college years.

See the pattern here? Cheating is rampant in our society. I would venture that every single one of us have cheated at something at least once in our lives, whether it’s a high school exam, our taxes or, ahem, fantasy baseball.

All the outcry does is make every one of us a hypocrite. No one bellowed about Sheffield when he said basically the same thing as Bonds. Why? Because people don’t like Bonds and this is just more fodder for their canon of anti-Bondsian rants.

This is all kind of amusing if it weren’t so sad – Bonds has never gotten in trouble off the field in any way, shape or form, yet he’s being vilified worse than a man who, in a six-month span about 10 years ago, had:

1) a murder-for-hire plot against his mother
2) allegations that he left threatening notes for his son's mother
3) a stalking by a fan and harassment by anonymous callers
4) his car and house broken into
5) been pulled off a team flight while Broward County (Fla.) sheriff's deputies, acting on an anonymous tip, searched his carry-on bag for drugs.
6) He has had an aggravated battery complaint filed against him
7) And he has been shot in the shoulder.

Yet, when he admits to using something he didn’t know the true components of, no one bats an eye – and when Bonds does the same, we immediately start talking ‘asterisk.’

Shame on us.


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