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…. The latest craze

Now that baseball has revised their drug policy, writers far and wide have lauded the new approach, ignoring the experts in much the same way they ignored the facts during much of the year-long hysteria baseball’s been experiencing. Here’s Mike Lupica, wanting to have it both ways:

…. You get caught using steroids from now on, the Players Association can’t protect you because no one can. Your name just goes in the paper. The shameful part of this day is that it took this long….

….Should amphetamines be part of this new drug policy? Sure. You don’t get everything. Baseball got enough yesterday….

How come some performance-enhancing agents are an issue, while some aren’t? Because Lupica nows next to nothing about it, that’s why. Lupica, and all the hysterical, headline-seeking sportswriters like him, know nothing about the issue, other than the header at the top of their own columns. Steroids are a scourge, so says the Daily News. Steroids kill, says Bill Gallo. Lupica jumps right on that bandwagon, without reading one study, or book, or research article, or even bothering to go to the governments own website on steroid abuse. Because if he did, he’d have to change his tune. If he knew anything about it, if he and his newspaper were interested in writing about facts instead of making headlines; they’d actually learn about the issue that they’re writing about. Instead, we get Lupica, sanctimoniously suggesting that the men who are paid to know about these things, (Gene Orza and Donald Fehr), finally got it right. That’s funny, Lupica talking about somebody else getting it right. Lupica’s been wrong about this from day one, (and yes, we’re talking about one of my absolute favorite writers of all-time here), and he’s wrong about it now.

Bill Pennington notes that amphetamies are banned from virtually every sport in the world, and in 2003, Tony Gwynn said that amphetamine use was a far bigger problem than steroids. So there’s your brave new world. Let me put it in the simplest terms possible:

If everybody in baseball was so gung-ho to make the steroids testing policy stronger and more punitive, then almost nobody must have been using them. Because nobody wanted to get rid of “greenies,” you can bet that virtually everyone was using them.

Wrap that around your head for a while before you jump on Lupica’s bandwagon.

Harvey Araton of the NY Times, now wants us to see how Bud Selig has finally exerted his authority by “forcing” the Players Association to bend to his will.

In the oft-ridiculed reign of Bud Selig as the commissioner of Major League Baseball, there has never been a better day than yesterday. Attendance records have been set on his watch. Home run hysteria captivated the nation in 1998. But it was not until Selig announced on a conference call that Donald Fehr had finally danced to his tune on the subject of performance-enhancing drugs that Selig sounded like the true boss and leader of his sport.

Could there be a more ridiculous statement written on this subject to date? This is Selig’s doing? Please. This is public-relations, no more, no less. This is not Kennisaw Mountain Landis throwing out the Black Sox even though they were acquitted. This is not Bart Giammatti banning Pete Rose, the all-time hits leader. This is baseball and the baseball media coming up with a way to get this “scandal” off the front pages.

Let me put it another way…. When Victor Conte has the most reasonable response to the issue, you can bet that we’re in the land of the knuckleheads.

…. Conte, the indicted man at the heart of the BALCO steroids scandal, issued a statement Thursday saying the new policy was “still a joke.” Noting the absence of amphetamines on the banned list, Conte wrote, “It is like attempting to reduce crime by banning the use of handguns but still allowing criminals to use rifles.”

Virtually every anti-doping expert in the world called baseball out for allowing amphetamines, a far more dangerous and well-documented performance-enhancment drug, to remain under the radar. But to most of the media, who have gotten themselves on ESPN with their heavy-handed posturing and preaching about the dangers of steroids, all that matters is that they have been proven right. As for knowledge and facts, well, we are talking about journalists, after all. Why should they care about facts?


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All commentary is the opinion of John J Perricone unless otherwise noted.
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