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BOSTON (CBS) – The first lesson I can remember my dad teaching me is, “winners never cheat and cheaters never win.”
Clearly, that’s not true anymore because lately, it doesn’t matter if you cheat as long as the desired results are achieved.
Let’s start with Alex Rodriguez. He’s got more home runs than any active player, he’s a three-time MVP, and is facing a 211-game suspension — the longest ever in professional sport, short of a lifetime ban. The fact he’s still allowed to play during his appeal drives me crazy. How is that punishment? He’s admitted in the past to using PEDs! He had a chance to change; he lied about using drugs, kept using them, and was arrogant about it. Not exactly a hero in my book, or worth my time. I refuse to watch this man play the game.
Read: More Of Tracy’s Take
The worst part about all of these “allegations” is not all the records Rodriguez holds or the millions of dollars he’ll still collect despite being an admitted cheater, but the fact so many young kids and aspiring athletes look up to him as their hero. He’s no hero; he’s a fraud and a liar. He’s teaching the next generation that it’s OK to lie and to cheat, because you might get away with it or at the very least suffer a slap on the wrist.
Look at Ryan Braun; he’s a cheater and he gets to keep his 2011 MVP. Matt Kemp played the game clean and lost.
It’s been reported that discussions between A-Rod’s reps and MLB officials would allow him to collect the $60 million the Yankees owe him from 2015-17 if he accepted a settlement that called for him to be suspended for the rest of this year and all of next year. He appealed and will be here in Boston starting tonight for the Yankees three-game set with the Red Sox.
I hope he gets booed out of Fenway.
Supposedly, MLB officials have used aggressive and creative ways to investigate and discipline A-Rod and other players linked to the Biogenesis anti-aging clinic. They handed down 13 suspensions. That’s it. Here’s an idea: if officials really want to rid the league of drugs, make a player’s contract null and void if he’s caught violating policies. I realize that will never happen because the sport won’t be as exciting. Records won’t be broken, balls won’t be hit as far or thrown as fast. If it’s no fun to watch, tickets won’t be sold and neither will merchandise.
This is the “Cheated Generation” — a generation that will unfortunately hear talking heads rationalize the cheaters and claim everybody who’s ever played the game, whether it be baseball, football, basketball, tennis or cycling, has cheated too. These are rough times for a generation of sports fans.
And then there’s Lance Armstrong. He convinced Americans a bike race through the hills of France was exciting. He represented strength. His performances in the Tour de France were incredible — some might call them super human. He not only beat cancer, he won race after race; seven to be exact. He was the epitome of Livestrong.
Yeah, well, he’s a liar and an admitted cheater, too. He still claims he’s still the winner of the 1999-2005 races. According to Armstrong, everyone was doing it. He actually told the French publication Le Monde the Tour de France was impossible to win without doping! If cycling can ban him from the sport, I don’t see why others can’t be banned from their respective sports if they grossly violate rules and policies.
Many players have voiced they’re not happy. They’re tired of an unbalanced playing field, tired of losing jobs to users and tired of cheaters winning big contracts, awards and championships.
There’s a blissful ignorance that a steroid problem runs rampant across all sports. Alex Rodriguez, Lance Armstrong, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, Barry Bonds and so many others want you to believe cheating is the new normal.
Until there’s a better solution, athletes are going to do whatever it takes to win if they can get away with it. Team owners will bend the rules. Doctors will continue to develop drugs that beat the testers. I guess it’s up to you to decide if you’re happy with this.
Tracy Clements is a weekend producer on 98.5 The Sports Hub. You can follow her on twitter at @clementine_12.