Monday, December 17, 2007

In the NFL, Steroid Use is Accepted

I've written before about how fans embrace NFL players caught cheating like Shawne Merriman, who got caught with steroids, suspended for four games, and then named to the Pro Bowl.

Jayson Stark has an interesting look at the cases of Andy Pettitte and Rodney Harrison:
Player A is a long-time star for a team that has won multiple titles. Great guy. Beloved by fans and teammates alike. Then finds himself connected with an HGH story he can't escape.

So he admits it. Admits he bought it. Admits he took it. Admits he did that over a long period of time, during which his team won championships and he was an All-Star. Admits he "sent the wrong message" to kids and to the public. Admits he's "very, very embarrassed."

But Player A also says he wants to make it clear he never used steroids. And the only reason he used HGH was because he was hurt and wanted to get back on the field to help his team.

OK, now let's move on to Player B -- another terrific player for teams that did nothing but win. Another likeable guy. Fan favorite. Clubhouse favorite. Then looks up one day and hears his name all over TV and radio, linked to HGH use.

So Player B takes some time to think about how he should react, then confesses. Confesses by saying he was injured at the time. Confesses by saying he felt an obligation to get back and help his team. Confesses by saying he'd heard a lot of talk about the healing properties of HGH, so he tried it briefly, then stopped.

It didn't feel right. It wasn't the kind of player or person he was, or is. So he stopped. And ohbytheway, he never used steroids, either, despite what people have been saying about him.

Two stories that couldn't be more identical, right?

But Player B wakes up the next morning to find a headline that says: "PLEASE SPARE US."

Player A, on the other hand, is greeted by headlines like this one: "DON'T SINGLE OUT (PLAYER A)."

Hmmmm. What's up with that?

Two indistinguishable stories. Two very different reactions. Why is that, anyway?

Well, you probably figured out that Player B is Pettitte, a fellow who plays baseball for a living.

Player A, on the other hand, is New England Patriots safety Rodney Harrison, a guy who plays in that Teflon National Football League, in which all those chiseled bodies are clearly on the up and up.

Where's the outrage over Rodney Harrison, huh? We've been waiting for it to show up in some form, any form, for weeks now. We're still waiting. We'll probably wait a lifetime.

The media loves giving NFL guys a pass. It's hypocrasy. Where's the outrage? Harrison has been a better NFL player than Pettitte has been a MLB player, and won (another) Superbowl last year and is playing on an undefeated team.

But hey, he plays football, give the guy a break.

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posted by Mr. Faded Glory @ 2:13 PM   0 comments


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