It's not that I think that Selig's a good commissioner, it's just I'm getting tired of this NFL nut-cupping sports journalists do. The NFL is a fun league to watch, but to act like just because it panders to its audience, that means its success represents anything but marketing is ridiculous. The NFL is a monopoly, a socialist state, and despite every attempt to create a false parity, there's a huge imbalance b/t the AFC and the NFC. Furthermore, the NFL probably accounts for more negative news (arrests, suspensions, and so on) than MLB. And yet, articles like this make ridiculous claims that the NFL is much better run than the MLB using ridiculous reasoning.
Running the National Football League — a business that reaps windfall profits by marketing a spectacularly balletic brand of violence — is rife with opportunities for embarrassment. There is talk of a felonious tendency among the players, gifted young men whose most ferocious instincts have been encouraged and cultivated since puberty. Then, as these players age, they likely face lifetimes of orthopedic or, even worse, neurological ruin.
You mean the recent report that former-NFL players are more likely to face depression than regular everyday people because of their propensity for head injuries? Or the fact that despite a fairly generous pension, NFL players have very little guaranteed money, and in the event of a career ending injury, most players recoup nothing of the unpaid portion of their contract? The article touches briefly on the concussion issue, but applauds Goodell's solution:
So what does Goodell do? Instead of circling the wagons — standard operating procedure in major league baseball — he announces that his league will now protect "whistle blowers," establishing a system that grants anonymity and requires investigation of doctors, coaches or trainers who may have improperly pressured a wounded player to play.
I will agree that MLB has handled poorly its steroid scandal, but is this really the right solution? Applauding "whistle blowers"? Is this really what sports fans want? Maybe I misread sports fans in general, but I find it hard to support a system that allows accusations to be made anonymously. A man, especially in a closely knit team environment, should have the right to face his accuser. What's even more puzzling, though, is the direction this article takes this idea:
Selig, who became the de facto commissioner of baseball back in 1992, would do well to take note. Selig's office is now investigating Jason Giambi, who, in an unlikely moment of conscience, attempted to apologize for using steroids. But now that Giambi has tried to come clean, baseball is trying to dirty him up.
Um...what? Giambi "came clean"? You mean when he said "sorry for doing that stuff"? Or his myriad vague apologies? Giambi is a cheater and a liar and a coward and he's never accepted an iota of responsibility for anything concrete. And you want to make him into some sort of bruised, noble hero? Sorry, not buying it.
On Wednesday, he was questioned by several of the commissioner's high-ranking henchmen. Now, if the occassion warrants, Giambi might have an audience with Selig himself. He must be very careful with his answers, else the Yankees use them to void his $120 million contract. It's worth mentioning again that this is the same contract for which the Yankees agreed (at the request of Giambi's agent) to excise any reference to steroids.
So do you want baseball to be more like the NFL or less? So what you're saying is that Giambi, despite the fact that he used steroids, won't really admit to it, and keeps braying in public like a wounded alleycat, yowling for attention, shouldn't be forced to pay any penalty at all? And you're going to make baseball into a villain for defaulting on his contract for doing something that, if Giambi were black, ornery and had more than 700 HR, would be claimed as the highest crime imaginable to baseball?
If this were the NFL, he would be suspended already and be out money. There wouldn't be any investigation to see if anyone else was at fault. Ask Shawne Merriman about that. But that doesn't even seem to be the point being made here. It's so convoluted I'm having a hard time following. Let's see if it becomes any clearer:
Now, for the benefit of all the twentysomethings and teens reading this, I urge you to understand that the steroid issue did not arrive with the new millennium. I remember way back in '94, writing that Lenny Dykstra should pee in a cup. I don't know if he was juicing or not. I believe there was cause to be suspicious. Steroids were not exactly a state secret.
But for years the acting commissioner chose not to act. Giambi put it best last Friday when he said, "We made a mistake." He was referring primarily to players and owners, though he might have included the media, too. It might have been the beginning of a worthwhile admission. Steroids are an ethical issue, but, like concussions, a proven health risk. What's going to happen to this generation of power hitters? How long before their kidneys and livers come to resemble desiccated prunes?
Um, ok. I would generally agree that baseball bludgeoned the steroids issue. It was pretty obvious (to me at least, that a good number of stars were on steroids). So what does this have to do with Selig's approach now? Or your approach for that matter? Do we need a vast overcorrection or do we need to just approach steroids with a level-head and a wary eye?
But instead of encouraging Giambi to tell his story — as one hopes might now be the case in Roger Goodell's NFL — baseball initiates yet another investigation.
And all of a sudden, in an astoundingly timed coincidence, comes a leak that Giambi tested positive for amphetamines within the past year.
Wait, what? What story? He hasn't confessed to anything but a vague "mistake". And explain to me what the difference between him meeting with Selig for questioning and "telling his story" is? Oh, "telling his story" would have the condition of anonymity. So he wouldn't have to face any consequences for essentially stealing a first ballot HOF guarantee along with millions of diminished-skill clause dollars from Frank Thomas? And then the article takes a turn for the even more bizarre:
It was a good scoop by a real good reporter, T.J. Quinn of the Daily News. The timing, however, is worth noting. Baseball's sudden concern with amphetamines is yet another hypocrisy.
Now baseball wants to talk about speed? Are they serious?
The difference between steroids and amphetamines is that speed was pretty much out in the open. For years, greenies were as readily available in most major league clubhouses as beer and the post-game spread. It was public. Dwight Gooden, in the March 6, 1995 issue of the Sporting News, spoke of an upper the players called "white crosses."
"Just about everyone was using them to get up for games," said Gooden.
He uses the fact that Giambi got outed for amphetamines as an argument for what a poor widdle fallguy Jason G. Is??? I'll admit that the timing on this seems a little more than coincidental--however, revision history aside, Speed has always been considered a huge problem in baseball. This article admits that. Somehow, though, it tries to show that since it's more widespread and has been going on longer, that makes it less poisonous than steroids.
Then, in a mindboggling display of twisted logic HE USES THE FACT THAT DWIGHT FUCKING GOODEN USED SPEED to show that SPEED IS NOT A BIG DEAL.
I just love this. Bonds uses steroids, is the world's worst human being in the history of the world in the eyes of sportswriters. Giambi used steroids. Got busted. Came back 50 pounds lighter without any power.Regained all his power within a year. Gets busted again, this time for speed. The party line on Giambi: "he deserves to be forgiven! He's being unfairly treated."
Just try as I might, I don't quite get it.