Hadfield: Knee-jerk reactions to MLB’s Biogenesis problem

It's doubtful that Alex Rodriguez is laughing these days given what transpired this week. Credit: Getty Images
It’s doubtful that Alex Rodriguez is laughing these days given what transpired this week.
Credit: Getty Images

With news that MLB is reportedly going after more than 20 players who allegedly received PEDs from a Florida based company named Biogenesis, we’re on the verge of what could be the largest performance-enhancing drug scandal in American sports history. Here are three knee-jerk reactions that offer you, the reader, blind rationalization and more questions than answers.

1. Complexity Creates Complacency: People incessantly cheat every day. Maybe you use the breakdown lane to get ahead of traffic (I hate you, by the way), or maybe you steal your neighbor’s Wi-Fi. Who knows? The argument against PED use in sports is simple: Chemical intervention subtracts from idealistic hopes of “purity” and seeing “the best man win” in a natural setting. But let me be honest: At this point, I cannot begin to understand the overwhelming minutia of the issue, or how deep it runs. Frankly, neither do you.

The epidemic reminds me of the national debt. I’m informed about the basics; understand it’s a problem of great magnitude that affects posterities going forward; hope for pragmatic jurisprudence on the matter – all of that. But given that we don’t know where it starts, or where it ends, or how widespread and rampant PED use actually is, remedying the issue is a fool’s errand. What I do know is this: PED use will always exist. Is my refusal to repudiate that fact waving the white flag, or just a dude coming to terms and being realistic?

2. Guilty By Association: MLB is trying to impose 100 game suspensions here, which is the penalty for second time offenders. While certain players allegedly in question, like Alex Rodriguez, have admitted to PED use in the past, many have never been found guilty. Despite this, MLB is apparently charging one offense for lying about their link to Biogenesis and a second for the actual use. To be fair to the players, this methodology comes as redundant; like an insurance company nailing your premium for totaling your car and speeding, too. The logic is specious at best, and disingenuous at worst.

Look, as a 12-year-old, I was in no position to adjudicate on the cause of the home run surge during the summer of ’98, when Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire captured America with record setting seasons. Those in position, namely the league and media, failed … and failed miserably. I’m not absolving the players here; in fact, I’m for a 100 game suspension on the first offense. Still, the policy in place is 50 games. And chicanery aside, dolling out 100 game suspensions to first-time offenders feels vindictive, like Sports McCarthyism, and a misguided way of earning America’s trust back.

3. Seriously, what are we really doing here, guys? My dirty secret: I enjoyed the summer of ’98. I enjoyed the David Ortiz Experience, even if his reputation has been somewhat sullied due to (unfounded) speculation of PED use. The worst part of this whole debacle is the hearsay … the uncertainty.

I’m not in the business of aimless conjecture, nor do I enjoy playing the “Do you think Adrian Peterson is juicing? What about Jeter? Kobe?” game with friends on a Saturday night at the bar for kicks. Not my bag. Alas, that’s the position fellow athletes (see Bonds, Barry) have put on their peers. Every athlete is guilty until proven innocent. I watch sports to be distracted from the everyday grind, not to be barraged with questions of morality or to play a massive game of “Clue.” Yet here we are, again, in the same position we’ve been in since the Mitchell Report.

Follow Ryan Hadfield on Twitter @Hadfield__



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Ex-Bitcoin official to plead guilty to Silk Road…

Bitcoin entrepreneur Charlie Shrem has reached a plea deal to resolve U.S. charges that he engaged in a scheme to sell over $1 million of…

International

China's army changes tactics to prepare for war…

Chinese President Xi Jinping has said China will spur military innovation and called on the army to create a new strategy for "information warfare" as…

National

California passes 'yes-means-yes' campus sexual assault bill

Californian lawmakers passed a law on Thursday requiring universities to adopt "affirmative consent" language in their definitions of consensual sex, part of a nationwide drive to curb sexual assault on…

National

Syrian refugees top 3 million, half of all…

By Stephanie NebehayGENEVA (Reuters) - Three million Syrian refugees will have registered in neighboring countries as of Friday, but many remain trapped by the advance…

Movies

What's new on Netflix in September

September has a supernatural theme for Netflix. UFO "documentaries" and the survivalist reality series "Doomsday Preppers" are among the new series coming to the online…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

Movies

Criterion's new Jacques Demy box mixes the light…

Jacques Demy, the most effervescent of French New Wave filmmakers, gets a Criterion box all to himself, with classics like "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Wellbeing

VIDEO: Still not wearing sunscreen? You will after…

Sunscreen is possibly the most often repeated - and ignored - piece of skincare advice. But Thomas Leveritt took a different tactic. With a short…

Food

Twitter used to track down sources of food…

When Chicago health officials saw Twitter users complaining about local food poisoning episodes, they reached out on Twitter to those users and often ended up…

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…