Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Current Sports Scandals and Their Importance...

This summer, three major sports scandals have broken. The most vital and vile is the arrest of the now former NBA referee Tim Donaghy for betting on games he officiated and possibly changing the outcome of games for bookies he was involved with. The other two involve Micheal Vick’s arrest on dog fighting charges and Barry Bonds ongoing steroid controversy in light of his recently passing Hank Aaron on the all time home run list.
Of the three ONLY the Tim Donaghy arrest challenges the notion of “integrity in sports.”
Vick was arrested and charged with what amounts to a cultural violation. I like bull fighting and rodeos. If the PETA Nazis had their way rodeos would be illegal here and those Americans who enjoy spots like bullfighting, even abroad, would be criminals here at home. In short, I sympathize with Michael Vick, at least I sympathize with him over PETA as I’d side with just about ANYONE versus the IRS. I sympathized with Leona Helmsley versus the IRS). Some groups, PETA, the Aryan Nation, ELF & ALF, the Nation of Islam, the Nazi Party, the Black Israelites, etc., are just too despicable to side with no matter what.
I support an individual’s right to bear arms and I think tobacco should be made illegal, so did the Nazis on both counts, BUT I’d never join a Nazi protest, nor accept Nazi support for either of those two laudable goals.
I think dog fighting is extremely inhuman, but, it could reasonably be argued, so is training dogs to be “attack dogs,” “guard dogs,” etc.
Ironically enough, it’s the "multiculturalists" among us who are the most passionate over the alleged crimes of Michael Vick! The same voices who extol “ALL cultures are equal,” the same people who demand “Due Process” for terrorists, wanted Vick suspended without pay over the indictment, WITHOUT his ever being convicted. In fact, he has as yet been convicted of NOTHING. I guess the multiculturalists REALLY believe that “ALL cultures are equal, so long as they all comply with modern Western standards.”
Barry Bonds is guilty of living and playing in the age of steroids. Jose Canseco, Mark McGuire, Sammy Sosa, Jason Giambi and scores of others both known and unknown have routinely used steroids and other “performance enhancing drugs,” over the course of their careers.
Hell, millions of weekend athletes and others seeking to “stay younger longer,” have used things like HgH, testosterone, andro and other such performance enhancers. Hell, testosterone and estrogen replacement therapy is often used by physicians in treating the symptoms of aging!
YES, the records of today ARE “tainted,” but there’s really no way to compare the records of any of the different eras. Babe Ruth played a completely different game than the one played today, just as Roger Maris and Hank Aaron played a different game than either Ruth or Bonds played in.
When new technologies, new advancements in sports medicine, training, sports gear, etc. are introduced, they’re invariably used. That’s human nature – things evolve, our games and hobbies have evolved.
Did Barry Bonds take performance enhancers?
Almost certainly, YES, but so did almost every other player. In fact, high school athletes have been using various performance enhancers for decades now!
Barry Bonds is the BEST baseball player of the modern/performance enhanced era. He may soon be replaced by A-Rod, who may one day face similar questions of his own.
Michael Vick did NOTHING to disgrace football or the NFL. He was charged with a crime (dog fighting) that’s as much cultural, in nature, as anything else. For better or worse, dog fighting remains very popular in many inner city neighborhoods around the country.
The Tim Donaghy scandal is THE sports scandal of the year, perhaps of the decade!
Donaghy sold out the trust of the NBA, in fact, his actions raise serious questions about all sports, specifically, “How much are ANY of these games on the level?”
Neither Bonds nor Vick is what’s wrong with America. Bonds is guilty ONLY of using every available resource to improve his own human potential. There was no steroid ban in baseball until a scant five years ago!
Michael Vick’s “crime” is entirely cultural in nature, proof that “multiculturalism” really means, “You’re culture’s OK, so long as it conforms to Western standards of decency and decorum,” which is pretty much what I believe, but so-called "multiculturalists" insist on calling me an "American-nativist," which they seem to believe is synonymous with "racist, sexist, xenophobic." I guess it's true what they say, "It takes one to know one." Looks like those multiculturalists are deep-down closer to my "nativist" views than they'd like to admit.
Tim Donaghy, on the other hand is exactly what’s wrong with America today – the willingness on the part of more and more people to violate the law and subvert their own integrity just to make a little extra, on the side.
Bonds cheated?
What laws did he break?! In an age where anyone with any sense used performance enhancers, how is it "cheating" for one person to use them and not so much of a big deal for others to do the same? I mean who did he cheat, Babe Ruth? It's impossible to make real comparisons across the different eras anyway!
In fact, Major League Baseball didn’t even have a steroids ban until 2002. Indications are that, like the vast majority of weekend athletes, virtually every major league athlete has used some kind of performance enhancers over the course of their careers, most of them routinely used such substances, so is Bonds any MORE guilty than any of the others?
So what is Bonds guilty of, getting better drugs, or using them more effectively?
Similarly, what did Michael Vick do to undermine the NFL, or bring into question the integrity of pro sports?
Answer, nothing. He just pissed off PETA, that’s all and he MAY have violated some federal laws against dog fighting, which like it or not, are cultural in both their intent and application, much like the disparate sentencing between crack and powdered cocaine.
Tim Donaghy is THE guy who violated the ethics of pro sports and brought into question the integrity of all pro sports. The other day Donaghy quietly pled guilty to TWO felonies! It's a travesty that his REAL scandal has been overshadowed by the controversies surrounding Michael Vick and Barry Bonds.
Come ON!
Donaghy’s the real sports scandal, the ONLY real sports scandal of the three.
Donaghy faces a maximum of 25 years in prison when he is sentenced for conspiracy to engage in wire fraud and transmitting wagering information through interstate commerce. He is currently free, on a $250,000 bond.
Tim Donaghy did real damage to the integrity of pro sports, but judging from the newspapers and sports talk shows, he’s a distant third behind Bonds and Vick in the scandal circuit and the vitriol of the fans and that’s unwarranted, because Tim Donaghy has done more damage to pro sports than anyone else since Shoeless Joe Jackson back in 1919.


Anonymous said...

Bonds violated the trust of baseball fans everywhere is your answer.

From his casaba melon head, at least a full hatsize up from his days as a Pirate in the earlier 1990s, to his disingenuous claim that he did not know that the 'clear' and the 'cream' which he massaged into his skin to achieve this elephantine body were illegal steroids, the man has been a fraud. To not believe that is to disassociate from reality.

What you fail to understand is how inportant records are to a baseball fan - unlike any other sport in our country.

Try this: Who holds the record for most TDs scored in a season?

Or career for that matter?

What is the exact yardage that the leading rusher in NFL history ran for?

Or most TDs thrown?

Who holds the record for most points per game careerwise in the NBA and what is that number?

Get my drift?

He fucked with a sacred record because he was pissed that McGwire and Sosa got all the hoopla in 1998. No baseball player in history has done what Bonds has done, i.e. increasing his HR/AB at a time when EVERY other ballplayer who preceded him did not.

Vick is different in that what he did was done during his offseason.

Still, his image, along with that of PacMan Jones and the entire Cincinnati Bengals roster (save a few) is indicative of manchildren behaving badly while expecting no consequences.

Understand that these athletes have been considered 'golden boys' since their HS days. Nobody ever told them what they were doing was wrong for fear of losing the player's accessibility to win for your team.

Personally, I hope the SOB gets jailed.

Oh, and having mentioned the Bengals pathetic criminal record, may I point out that the Baltimore Ravens who preceded them in this notoriety area had a common thread?

His name is Marvin Lewis, the head coach, previously the defensive coordinator for Baltimore.

The man loves his thugs but nobody in the MSM will ever make the correlation because of two reasons:

a) Marvin is black

b) So are his thugs on both teams.

As Casey Stengel used to say: "You can look it up!"

JMK said...

Here's the thing Mal, none of the different eras (and there were many) can really be accurately compared to each other in any direct manner. All the current "performance enhancer" controversy does, is highlight that fact.

Training methods and equipment have improved with each era, the ball has gotten increasingly livelier, the ballparks increasingly smaller, the pitcher's mounds have been raised and lowered and the things athletes put into their own bodies have gotten more and more sophisticated.

I dont disagree with you about the way baseball's records are viewed as more hallowed than any other, and so I fully understand the controversy surrounding Bonds.

My only disagreement here is that, in my view, none of the records post 1970 can be compared to those before and none of those of today can be compared to those through, say, the 1980s.

And it works BOTH ways.

No ballplayer since Ted Williams has hit .400, could some of that be due to the fact that there were very few night games until the late 1950s, or there were only two leagues, each with about eight teams until the mid-1960s, thus far less travelling for players?

Would Ruth have hit as many home runs if he'd had to face black pichers like Satchel Paige?

Or would he have hit more home runs had the foul poles been widened twenty years earlier (they were set as they are now in 1935)?

Would Josh Gibson (thought to have hit over 800 homeruns in the Negro Leagues) have hit even more homers than Ruth?

The players of the 1960s and 1970s openly used amphetimines, initially to deal with the increased travel and the effects of jet lag, but that really started the chemically enhanced ballplayer, as the subtances the players began putting in their bodies evolved quickly from that point.

Moreover, MLB looked the other way, in fact, there's little doubt that they deliberatley looked the other way when McGuire and Sosa battled over Maris' single season record (itself tainted, in that Maris broke Ruth's record on the last game of a 162 game season, when Ruth hit 60 in 154 games) and it was all too clear that both McGuire and Sosa were both "juiced."

In fact, MLB looked the other way until 2002, when they first banned steroids, and continued looking the other way since then, as they've been rather tepid in their enforcment. They still don't test for HgH (Human Growth Hormone and other substances).

The problem with pro sports is that it still acts the way the Catholic Church did over its scandal earlier this decade, refusing to learn the lessons of that fiasco.

MLB doesn't want the public to know how many of today's players take "performance enhancers," because almost ALL of them either have or regularly do. You'd have to be crazy not to, knowing that most of the other players already do.

Same with the NBA, they view this Tim Donaghy scandal as a PR problem, when it's really far more than that. What Donaghy shows us, is that while it may be tough for gamblers and bookies to have multi-million dollar players in their pockets, it's not that hard to get an NBA ref who earns $150KI to $300K in you pocket.

What I'm saying is that although Vick's being charged with dog fighting is odious, it does not taint all of football, and while Bonds being suspected of "juicing," is a scandal, the reality is THAT scandal is MLB-wide.

And what I'm saying about chemical enhancement, is that once that genie's out of the bottle, there's no putting it back in. We're already in a period when some substances can already increase our longevity and youthfulness and there are many, many people (both ordinary citizens and those who use their bodies to earn their livings) use them routinely....there's no going back.

That's why, at least to me, Donaghy's scandal is the BIGGEST, because his goes to the integrity of pro sports at the most basic level. Now, every time anyone watches a game they SHOULD wonder, "Is this really on the level, or is it fixed,m or pre-ordained?"

It's the age in which we live.

Pro sports is bottomline, a business and it has been for a very long time. A guy who can extend his career five or ten years can now earn another $25 to $250 million over that period of time, depending on how good a player he is.

For better and for worse, this is our age and it's also why we can't compare today's baseball players to Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle and Hank Aaron, let alone Rogers Hornsby, Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth.

Just my thoughts on all this.

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