A Very American Coup By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor-in-Chief...
Baseball Needs To Come Clean Before It Is Too Late
SAN ANTONIO, TX ——“The only way drug policies in sports will work is for those who have the power to make decisions to start using some common sense and realize that sometimes you have to give up a few ‘liberties’ in order to better the sport.”
That statement was a part of an editorial I wrote back on November 23, 2003 for the website Black Athlete Sports Network (www.blackathlete.com).
When I wrote that op/ed, it was on the premise that maybe Major League Baseball would so something about being so laxed about anti-doping issues. Evidently, America’s pastime does not want to do such a thing and that is sad. It is sad because while players such as Barry Bonds continue to speak “BALCOese” and deny any wrongdoing, there are millions of fans and ball players who think something needs to be done. In other words, what Donald Fehr is allowing by not having the union members speak their minds is a situation that could very well be viewed as one of hidden agendas and underhandedness.
Baseball needs to realize that the American public isn’t ignorant of the fact. Sports fans are very astute individuals and when they read varying reports on a subject such as steroids testing, they are expecting all the organizations to be on the same page. Therefore, it baffles all of us when the U.S. Olympic governing body can take up the stance of strict zero tolerance in which their numbers are less than 0.6% of U.S. athletes that compete in the Olympics are tested while baseball has numbers of 5% to 7%. If baseball does not understand how significant that percentile is then they deserve the negative press that they are receiving now.
THE SALEM WITCH HUNT OF 2004
Call it McCarthyism. Call it a Salem Witch Hunt. Heck, call it a Spanish Inquisition of the 21st century. You can call it whatever you want but there are some serious questions that need to be answered and the baseball player’s union needs to come correct and just accept the fact that this is one issue that they can’t handicap the public, the players or the owners with. Sports fans deserve to know that baseball is serious about cleaning up its image and right now, that image needs a serious make over. When the federal government has a man indicted for drug pushing and he happens to be the trainer of your top star that is not good.
When a grand jury has subpoenaed several ball players who lived in the San Francisco Bay area about one company that they all have had ties to, that is a serious situation. When the U.S. Government has targeted your sport as being something that needs to be cleaned up, then it is time for the union to take notice and do whatever is necessary to clean up the sport.
There is no excuse for Bonds or anyone else who is towing the “BALCOese” line to get offended when average Joes raise the question of whether they are dirty or not. This is not the time to try to play public relations guru here. Baseball is in more trouble now than when it was in the strike-shortened season.
Sports fans wan answers and somehow those involved better find them quickly or else baseball will forever lose the luster that it once shared.