On the TUNNEYSIDE OF SPORTS August 12, 2013 #449 Up next…Is 211 a 9-1-1?
After further review…This column/blog has written extensively about various athletes (and teams) who have cheated to win! Biogenesis of Americais the name of the defunct Florida lab that supplied the fourteen players (including 2011 NL MVP Ryan Braun) recently suspended by Major League Baseball for using performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs). “Genesis” is defined as “the origin or the beginning of something”. Hopefully, it will designate the beginning of the end of PED use by athletes.
Unfortunately, the opinion here is that it won’t. Players will continue to cheat to win. However, and happily, many MLB players have become outspoken opponents of chemical cheating. Hooray, for them! Are they a strong enough voice to hold sway with the players’ union? Will we ever arrive at a status quo governed by an athletic code of conduct that flatly rejects PEDs?
Evasion has consistently stayed one step ahead of detection. All the currently suspended athletes took and passed scheduled drug tests; they have been disciplined because they were named in records supplied to MLB by lab owner Anthony Bosch. New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, the highest-paid player implicated, is the only one appealing his suspension. A-Rod’s suspension is for 211 games, which covers the remainder of the 2013 MLB season and all of 2014.
211? The number might well have been 9-1-1, given the ardor with which Rodriquez tried to cover his tracks. The implication of “emergency” should not be overlooked here. This expose is almost as rotten as the 1919 Black Sox scandal that shook baseball’s integrity to the core. There needs to be a warning to all athletes that cheating to win betrays the sport. Especially when, as in A-Rod’s case, there was genuine God-given talent to begin with.
Rodriquez possesses the right of appeal according to the MLB Collective Bargaining Agreement between the players’ union and the league. A CBA is a necessary element in any union/league mutual understanding. But to insist on, and be granted, the privilege of playing while under suspension seems farcical. Perhaps money is a concern to A-Rod. Huh? He signed a 10-year contract worth $275 million in 2013. Surely, he has banked some of that! The Yankees will owe him millions no matter how the situation is resolved. Hopefully he can get by till then.
Will the 211 become a 9-1-1 wake-up call to other athletes?