It would have sounded a lot better five years ago
Attention, Tiger Woods and Roger Clemens: Don’t wait five years, like Mark McGwire, before coming clean.
That would seem to be the message that arises out of McGwire’s admission today – after all these years – that he did indeed use steroids and was benefitting from the bottle when he broke Roger Maris’s home-run record in 1998.
In other news, today is Monday and Sarah Palin is joining FOX news.
This is newsworthy only because it’s McGwire admitting what everyone knew, or at least strongly suspected at the time – although steroids back then were not illegal in baseball. If there were any doubts about his use of performance-enhancing drugs, they disappeared after he got up and stonewalled the U.S. Congress five years ago with his nonsense about “not (being) here to talk about the past.’’
Imagine if he had simply ‘fessed up back then. It would be very old news by now.
Barroid Bonds, David Ortiz, Alex Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez, Rafael Palmeiro and all kinds of other superstar juicers, proved or suspected, have come along since then. If McGwire had faced his music when he had the chance, asking for forgiveness and pretending to want to help the kids stay away from PEDs and so on, it would be pretty much a non-issue.
He said that returning to baseball, as a hitting coach with St. Louis, makes him want to “come clean’’ and how steroids were “a mistake’’ and so on. That’s all fine; if he feels better about himself by getting this off his chest, he’s entitled. It would be interesting to hear why he decided to go silent and seal himself off from most of the world for the past few years, but that was his right, too.
Anyway, Clemens has been doing the same thing since repeatedly putting his foot on his mouth about PED use, which is basically denying and hiding. Palmeiro is doing the same thing. Woods so far is merely hiding, although there’s a big difference between the ballplayers and Woods. The players are all retired and Woods, obviously, still is in the theoretical prime of his career. (Still, people will want Woods to address the issues that have arisen in his personal life, particularly the sexcapades that blew apart his marriage and family-man image, and nothing for him can ever return to normal, or even close, until he deals with it publicly and the sooner the better.)
How much of McGwire’s admission now deals with his reaction to his continued poor showing in the annual Hall of Fame vote (about 25 per cent, after four years on the ballot) is not knowable yet. Clemens has three more years until he gets on to the ballot and Palmeiro goes on next year. (Clemens has another complicating issue, though; that little matter of the investigation into whether or not he lied to Congress.) How voters will react, if they react at all, to a player admitting PED use and asking for forgiveness, remains to be seen. It will be one more can of worms opened on the issue.