Why Won’t Someone Ask The Question?

By Tony McClean, BASN Editor In Chief
Updated: August 2, 2005

EDITOR’S NOTE: When this story was first published by BASN back in August of 2005, we felt some questions were left unanswered about Rafael Palmeiro’s suspension at the time. Six years later and with Palmeiro’s name back in the news, we try to take a look back and a look forward.

NEW HAVEN, Ct. (BASN) — When the Rafael Palmeiro suspension was handed down this past Monday, I waited for the question to be asked. When sports talk radio hosts talked about how hypocritical Palmeiro’s denials to Congress were in March, I waited for the question to be asked.

When I read the various local and national columns condeming Palmeiro’s suspensions and subsequent denials, I waited for the question to be asked. So now, I’m tired of waiting and I’m going to ask you and everyone else the question.
While the exact timing of the suspension (nearly two weeks following his 3,000th hit) seemed very odd, there was one thing that first came into my mind. Simply put, just what role did or does the drug Viagra play in this suspension?
Before you laugh this off and think that I’m trying to play a junior Oliver Stone, here me out. As most sports fans know, not too long ago Palmeiro served as a national spokesman for Pzifer’s male inhancement drug.
Please stop and think about that!!!
Viagra is widely known a performance enhancement drug. Steroids are widely referred to as performance enhancement drugs. Now am I the only person in America that doesn’t see a correlation? Do you really think that the two aren’t directly related?
Now I am not trying to be an apologist for Palmeiro, but to complete ignore these facts are and can be dangerous. If Palmeiro did knowingly use steroids as ex-teammate Jose Canseco has claimed and is now just crying crocodile tears, then he truly deserves the punishment and ridicule that he’s getting.
But to me, this is the glaring unanswered question that should be and truly needs to be asked by the media. Instead taking the easy way out and trying to tear a new one on Palmeiro, we in the media need to be thoroughly investigating this aspect.
When it was revealed that Palmeiro was a Viagra spokesman back in the day you had the predictable jokes by sportscasters and hack comedians about how Raffy now really uses a corked bat or having out of town PA announcers playing suggestive music when he would come up to bat.
In fact, while playing an interleague game at PNC Park in 2002, Palmeiro was accompanied over the public-address system by the canned sound: “Booooiiiiing”. Now all of sudden, we seem to have a memory lapse about this and other silly things that have happened during that time.
Several times while appearing on WCLM’s “Sports Talk” over the years, I’ve always mentioned how very, very careful we have to be about drugs, drug testing, and pointed allegations.
I’m not going to sit here and claim to be a doctor, but I know for a fact that there are several over-the-counter, everyday drugs that contain forms of steroids in them
Just ask the Orioles organization, who just two years ago saw one of their most promising ballplayers die at the hands of similar drugs. Pitching prospect Steve Bechler died during spring training of 2003 less than 24 hours after taking Xenadrine, an over-the-counter drug whose primary ingredient is ephedra.
All I’m really saying is: Will someone please either ask and or answer the question so we can get to the root of this problem? Again if Raffy is gulity, then punish him accordingly.
But if it turns out that Palmeiro truly was unknowingly taking a banned substance, will anyone have the guts to apologize to him?
Somehow, I don’t think that will happen.

ONE IMPORTANT UPDATE Ironically the same season that Palmeiro was suspended by Major League Baseball, the sport re-instituted the “Comeback Player of the Year” award back into the public consciousness.

The winner of the award that season?? — Jason Giambi of the New York Yankees. And in another bit of “you can’t make this up” irony, the corporate sponsor of the award is now Pfizer, the makers of Viagra!!!!