3.15.2006

Why the bias in the media on steroids? Players' Advisors Share Bigger Blame

{Sorry, somehow my save didn't work out right so I've gone through and fixed up obvious errors and tweaked it, nothing substantive but just thought I would point this out.}

Why is the media so biased in their assessment of the steroid scandal? Obviously you should focus on the cheaters who took steroids. And MLB management has gotten a nice black eye on this as well and rightfully so, they should have brought this issue to the fore much earlier than this, but better late than never. But there seems to me to be this inequality inherent in most of the articles I have read.

Why Bonds and Not McGwire?

Some have been calling for Selig to start an investigation along the lines of the John Dowd investigation that was done for Pete Rose. I don't like to use the race card, but where's the equality in outrage for McGwire? He basically admitted that he used steroids in his testimony, or lack thereof, when he could have shown the world, like Palmeiro (oops!).

Why no outrage for that? Why no call for investigating that? While I understand that he isn't challenging Ruth's and Aaron's records, he did set the season record before Bonds took it and he also set the rookie HR record as well, and is in the Top 5 of all time homerun hitters, pushing down players like Schmidt and Frank Robinson out of the top.

And he was caught with androstenedione, whereas Bonds hasn't been caught with anything yet, it is all hearsay and innuendo thus far, very circumstantial, whereas McGwire basically told the world he took because he took the 5th and the only reason to do that would be that you could be caught in a lie and yet nothing like this happened to him. He is a liar and a cheat too, circumstantially like Bonds, so why no outrage for him?

Why MLB Management and not Players Union?

And I don't understand the piling up on the MLB management including Selig. Not that I'm particularly pro-management, nor do I care for Selig, baseball needs a real Commissioner not a puppet like him, but have they seen the last umpteen strikes that have happened? The players are in control, the inmates have control of the prison. I have seen Selig say in public that they tried to get the Players Union to do stiffer drug testing but they refused. All the weak penalties are the work of the Players Union and Donald Fehr.

This recent review of a book on Selig's tenure as commissioner backs me up on this. Here is the pertinent quote:


And by working in concert with Congress (a large consideration) to get the players' association to open up the collective bargaining agreement not once but twice, a substantive drug testing policy has been implemented, with steroids as the chief target.

What this all means is that the MLB commissioner and management could not do much of anything to get the players union to agree to a better drug testing procedures and had to work with Congress in order to get the player's union to agree to a much better drug testing policy.

Why don't the newspapers attack the Players Union, they have got to know what was happening in their ranks, they have got to know how it would eventually play out (with scandal), why didn't they push for stronger penalties? Why didn't they make a stand? Why did they protect the cheaters?

And why don't the newspapers point this out? Probably because they are union too and they watch out for each other, I've seen very little criticism of the Players Union in this mess, all this tsk-tsking of the owners and management but really, the players have had the power, if they wanted stronger penalties and testing, they could have put it in, because management would not have fought that.

Why not Donald Fehr and his Management Team?

And why not put bigger shame on the management of the Players Union, particularly on their leader, Donald Fehr? Should they not be looking out for the long term health of their union members? Shouldn't they try to stop destructive behaviors as well as illegal behaviors? Don't they owe it to their membership to make the competitive landscape equal for everyone? Don't they want their players to not feel like they have to take illegal substances in order just to stay even?

Oh, wait, the 'roided players make a lot of money now, they're bringing in the dough, they have a lot of say and power now, particularly the agents making all that money, like Scott Boras. Any way you look at it, the players side look even worse than the management side in this whole mess. Does anyone really think that management would turn down strict penalties and a tougher testing regiment if the players agreed to something like that? No, the players' union never did anything like that to stem the rumors and innuendo swirling around the game.

Players' and Their Agents' Complicity Worse Than Management

And what about the players' agents? Why doesn't any of the reporters ask why Boras didn't make a big stink before? He has a large percentage of the top baseball players as clients. Shouldn't he want to prevent the use of steroids, because that would make his clients less valuable. Given his renown for extremely detailed work in putting together a free agent player's prospectus, wouldn't he have figured out at some point, given all the speculation that was in the press and discussed among fans and players, that there were significant number of users and that would make his clients worth less in a contract?

He would unless HIS clients were taking and thus he stayed quiet because he couldn't kill the golden goose. I have no idea whether any of his players are or were using but given his fanaticism in working for his clients, this seems like a rather big rock that he left unturned in making sure his clients are the best paid in baseball. Why don't the newspapers point this out as well? Why no calling out of this discrepancy?

If a prominent agent like Boras made a big stink about this problem, do you think he would be ignored as a crackpot? And he must have known about this problem, he has so many clients, he gets so involved with the training and development of his clients, there must have been one who let him know that either 1) he's a steroid user or 2) he'd seen steroid users and it's not fair or 3) he's heard of steroid use and he's worried about the pressure to use it. Wouldn't an agent hearing stuff like this be pushing hard with the players union to get penalties and testing put in because allowing steroids would make your client significantly less valuable?

Plenty of Blame But Why One-sided to Management?

So there is plenty of blame to spread around, only, conspicuously, none of the player's advisors, the people who should be looking after their best interests, whether the union or their agents, have been put on the carpet for this and they are probably the most culpable because they had the power to do something, the worse the owners could do would be to cancel out a whole season, but I don't think that they would get a whole lot out of that one, let alone stiffer drug penalties.

Look at how baseball tries to invoke a stiff penalty on Kenny Rogers for his cameraman incident. Did the players union accept that this act was a horrible act and accept the punishment? No, it appeals it and then gets it reduced in arbitration. That's how impotent MLB management is, what a load of hooey reporters are shoveling.

The Players Union and their agents are fiduciarily responsible to the players on the whole and to their clients, respectively. If there is anything that damages the people they are representing, whether physically or monetarily, it is their responsibility to protect their client, unlike management who has more of a hands-off relationship with the players. Why aren't the newspapers attacking these people, they were the ship captain on the Valdez oil tanker, driving the ship, MLB management was the flunkie the ship captain delegated the steering to before it crashed.

1 Comments:

Blogger allfrank said...

Martin, I really appreciate your comments. What comes to mind is that BB is an easy target. Easily recognizable, already hated by the media. What you describe is not dissimilar to our criminal justice system. Our prisons are full of young, relatively uneducated men, arrested for basically petty street drug crimes. These guys represent the lowest level of the criminal drug enterprise. They are arrested and sent to prison because they are easy targets. The police can round them up every night and tell the public how great they are doing. AND it is a whole lot easier than going after the kingpins and the drug lords. Kind of like Reagan invading Granada. Who cares?
The BB - steroids 'story' is a lot like the McCarthy story. People are hysterical and all 'right-thinking' citizens and journalists are jumping on the bandwagon. Very few do any real, dispassionate, critical thinking. They just re-order the same arguments they heard someone else make.
And we are on the side of those who said "I don't find that 'evidence' of WMD very convincing." Because there is enough innuendo and 'partial fact' in the public domain to support this hysteria.

Wed Mar 15, 07:01:00 PM PST  

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