The Rocket flying high after being found not guilty
Perjury…not guilty. Obstruction of congress…not guilty. Making false statements…not guilty.
After hearing 10 weeks of testimony, it took jurors only 10 hours to decide the fate of Roger Clemens. The former star pitcher was acquitted of all charges. Thus ends a saga that has engulfed the 49-year-old’s life.
But one can’t help but to wonder what implications this verdict will have in the larger scheme of things.
Perhaps this will bring an end to an era that will forever stain the fabric of America’s past-time. Beginning with the Mitchell Report and Jose Canseco’s implications. Continuing with the necessary drug reform in Major League Baseball, perhaps the steroid witch hunt is now over. Deserving legends like Mark McGwire perhaps will never be enshrined in the sacred halls of Cooperstown as a result.
This brings up the issue of Clemens’ eligibility for the hall of fame. Even though he was found not guilty in court, will he be able to receive the same verdict of the writers that votes are necessary for induction? Clemens numbers are absolutely deserving. He has the wins. He has the world series rings. He has the Cy Young’s. Still, one can’t help but wonder if he has the hearts of those who will decide his fate.
I for one, surly hope so. It is unfair for members of the media to step out of their role and superseded the legal process. If he was found not guilty, they have a professional responsibility to honor that ruling. This would make their choice be completely on merit. On merit alone, Clemens should get in one his first ballot.
What about the other deserving athletes that were caught up in the steroid era? The aforementioned McGwire, along with names like Bonds and Sosa were able to captivate a nation with their swing. Unfortunately, I believe their fates to be unfairly sealed. Their images corrupted. Their legacies tarnished. Even current stars like A-Rod may always be remembered with an asterisk.
This may be the reality, but is it just? The policy was not established until 2006. As such, players should not be condemned for actions prior to this time. The did nothing wrong by baseball’s standards, as such they should not be held accountable by those covering baseball until the point they were held accountable by the league’s governing body.
Baseball is an elite fraternity. Most of us may have played in our youth. Some of us had the talent to pursue baseball. A very select few were able to play professionally. Of these, only less than ten percent ever made it to the majors. Of this group, most would never even be deemed worthy for hall of fame consideration. When these athletes reached a certain level, they had a personal responsibility to try and gain a competitive advantage over their competition. Some hit the weights. Some the cages. Some worked hard with coaches. Some took PED’s. As baseball had elected not to judge these players for the route the took; neither should we.
By allowing the voters for induction the authority to hold such actions against players, they are being placed above the game itself. The hall of fame should be dedicated to those who gained notoriety for their play on the field, regardless of the infamy they may have achieved for their actions off of it. I may not like Barry Bonds at all as a person, but no one can deny the lasting impact he had on the game of baseball.
Now I will turn my attention to the prosecution of athletes by the government. The bill Bonds and Clemens trials both eclipsed seven figures. Now, is this an appropriate use of our government’s time, or our money as tax payers. Personally, I think not. All these trials are doing is villanizing our heroes (regardless of verdict) and tarnishing games that we turn to in order to get away from the problems of our society.
Look at Lance Armstrong.
Armstrong has been investigated on several occasions. He has passed over 500 drug tests, never failing or even having one come back inconclusive. The powers that be instituted their own policies, and during his career, Armstrong never once violated the rules they set. He is a sports icon that succeeded against unfathomable odds. He has since retired. In spite of all of this, he will now still face charges. The results of which, will have no impact on the current state of cycling. All it will do is tarnish the image of Armstrong, the sport he represents and waste excessive amounts of money.
The sporting world needs heroes. This is something many have lost touch with. These athletes should be celebrated, not condemned. The Clemens’ verdict is not just good for baseball, it’s good for the entire sporting world. Hopefully it will set a precedent, bringing this era to an end. They say “play ball” before every game because baseball is something you play. It is supposed to be fun. Certain people simply need to lighten up. After-all it’s only a game.
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