The Lupica article is insightful for identifying an inconsistency in our response that suggests baseball is still uncertain of how to address its crisis.
To the Editor:
I was pleased to read Mike Lupicas thoughtful sentiment on the recent hiring of Mark McGwire out of retirement. Appropriately, Lupicas focus is not the set of misdeeds that we already know were committed by some of the best players to ever step on the field. Instead, he focuses on the inconsistency and hypocrisy of the league and its commissioner, Bud Selig.
Selig, who oversaw the era of steroids with blatant inaction, today presides over the witch-hunt which holds individual players responsible for an epidemic that permeated the whole of the sport. Today, though testing policies are becoming stricter, it remains uncertain exactly how to address the issue of past steroid use. With prominent players such as Alex Rodriguez and Manny Ramirez continuing to play the game under this cloud of controversy, McGwires return to the game seems a matter of entitlement.
But as Lupica acknowledges, we have done a grave disservice if we allow his return to come without a more honest dialogue. The culture of denial regarding steroids proceeds from one thing and one thing only; major league baseballs outright failure to achieve a consistent and nuanced plan for addressing those who have been outed. The 50 day suspension for testing positive hardly seems sufficient given that figures such as a-Rod had been outed years after the offense and thus served no suspension. Moreover, this approach doesnt answer future questions such as McGwires right to return to the game or, perhaps most importantly, the right of men like Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens to enter into the Hall of Fame. The questions surround McGwire today, and preventing others from speaking honestly and constructively on the steroid problem from personal experience, all are derived from the cowardice and inconsistency of.