Clemens and PEDs

Over on his blog, Seth Mnookin wonders why Roger Clemens has not been subject to more scrutiny on the steroid issue, given his appearance in the “Grimsley affadavit,” his changing appearance over the years, and his apparent improvement at a time in his career, much like a certain slugger from San Francisco, when he should be declining.

We’re all for more scrutiny on this issue. He is a marquee player, and to the extent that he is a part of the MLBPA, which has done so much to stonewall progress on testing, he is culpable for the situation, broadly. That said, focus should be on raising the standards of testing now. A witch hunt seems inappropriate. Explanations for Clemens continued excellence are many (his famous work ethic, a move to an inferior league, etc.) and his changing appearance may just be natural aging. The truly sad fact is we’ll never know. Blame MLB and the MLBPA for leaving us with doubts.

27 comments… add one
  • Clemens get a pass because fans like him (minus the Duquette lovers) and he’s not threatening any “old school” records while Barry is an insufferable pain in the ass that’s about to knock off Aaron.

    Steve April 11, 2007, 10:32 am
  • I hate the term “witch hunt”. It’s been used to death by politicians who have no interest in confronting the dastardliness of their own deeds, and I think the same thing is true here.
    While YF and I have avoided (for the most part) any kind of unfounded speculation about who might have been using PEDS (uh, everyone!?), in this case Mnookin is asking a subtle and different question about fan attitude, and why some players escape scrutiny. In that way, it’s a less unseemly discussion. In the end, though, the fact is that even Mnookin’s reasonable query will devolve into a debate over whether Clemens used, and this will not be a very useful discussion.

    SF April 11, 2007, 10:37 am
  • No argument with that, Steve. Race certinly an issue, as well.

    YF April 11, 2007, 10:37 am
  • I don’t think race is an issue in the least. Aaron’s black, people love him. I don’t think anyone would have a problem with Carl Crawford breaking any records.

    Steve April 11, 2007, 10:39 am
  • I think the challenge is not just to fans, but to journalists, especially in Houston. I think the press is obligated to look into/inquire about the Clemens PED issue. The issue is when looking into it becomes a witch hunt driven by speculation with no evidence. Fans and journalists have different obligations. I didn’t read Seth’s book. But he had a year with basically limitless access to the Sox. How much time did he discuss addressing the steroid issue?
    Steve: that’s naive. Yes, Aaron is beloved, but to think that whites and blacks are evaluated on equal terms in our society is wrong and grossly unfair. I think the Imus flap is a pretty good illustration of that. I’m not Bonds defender, but let’s not duck reality, especially in this month, when we’re supposed to be celebrating the legacy of Jackie Robinson.

    YF April 11, 2007, 10:51 am
  • I think the Imus flap is definitely a very good illustration of how things aren’t fair, since that WASN’T EVEN A RACIST COMMENT. Stupid as all hell and sexist, yes. Racist, no.
    More “racism” is CREATED out of nowhere by guys like Sharpton and Jackson (for profit, no less,) that’s the kind of stuff that needs to be looked down upon in light of the legacy of Jackie Robinson.
    The treatment Barry gets has absolutely nothing to do with the fact he’s black, sorry. It has to do with the fact he’s perceived as an egoistic jackass who’s going to break one of sports’ most cherished records through steroid usage, nothing more.
    The fact that you even bring race up out of thin air in reference to Barry boils my blood, it’s ridiculous. The record he’s trying to break is held BY A BLACK MAN, and nobody has issues with that.

    Steve April 11, 2007, 11:16 am
  • It’s all about likeability.
    I, too, doubt race is an issue with Bonds. To me, he’s despised because he’s very unpleasant. I believe that public personna is the reason Bonds is scrutinized and Clemens is not. People tend to love Clemens and hate Bonds.
    You don’t want to believe that someone you like cheats, and you look for evidence that someone you dislike is cheating.
    This blog is a good example of the likeability factor. Some Red Sox fans who post here believe that Giambi not only took PEDs but still is taking them. Some Yankees fans like to say that Ortiz and Schilling take PEDs.
    At the end of the day, look at the names of those who have lost in the court of public opinion, McGwire and Sosa being two examples. There is no actual evidence that either knowingly took anything illegal (the andro being the exception). But we believe what we want to believe.
    Yes, there is lots of circumstantial evidence, but nothing concrete that Bonds, Sosa, McGwire, Clemens etc., knowlingly used PEDs.
    Getting back to Clemens, keep this in mind: when asked about PEDs, Clemens (not unlike Lance Armstrong) always says that he never failed a test. He never denies taking PEDs, just that he never failed a test.

    I'm Bill McNeal April 11, 2007, 11:37 am
  • Hank Aaron also doesn’t support Barry Bonds; he won’t be there for 755 or 756. Does this mean that Aaron, too, is somehow racist?
    I think it is a mistake to assume that because someone is black and reviled that they are reviled BECAUSE they are black. In many cases, this may be true, but not in this one. Bonds is reviled because he’s a jerk who everyone believes cheated to get where he is. If he were a nice guy, he wouldn’t be reviled. If all the signs didn’t point to steroid use, he wouldn’t be reviled.
    I would guess that if McGwire were still playing and approaching the record, he too would be booed in every road at bat. He’s not too well liked by fans either. At the height of the steroid scandals, was Gimabi, a white man, also not booed every at bat and serenaded with chants of BALCO? If he were approaching significant milestones, he too would be castigated, and he’s a nice guy, by all accounts.
    Fair or not, the record seems to be the significant relevant difference between the treatment of Clemens and Bonds on the PED issue.

    Paul SF April 11, 2007, 12:29 pm
  • First of all, the assertion that “nappy headed hos” is somehow not a racist remark is probably the most ridiculous thing that’s been written on this site in its five year existence.
    Moreover, the point wasnot that Bonds is reviled “because” he is black; the issue is that we don’t live in a color-blind society.

    YF April 11, 2007, 12:51 pm
  • Imus was about three steps away from calling them a team of gorillas; that was about the stupidest, most disgusting thing I’ve ever heard a media personality say. The fact that he was talking about college kids makes it even worse. Most of the time, when the media spends as much time on something like this, they’re the ones blowing it out of proportion…not here, Imus deserves everything he gets.
    I think race might play a factor for some, with regard to Bonds…but I don’t think it’s a big one. Say I told you someone was about to break the most beloved record in sports. Somehow I manage to convey all the stuff Bonds has done–all the steroid evidence, the tax evasion, the clubhouse fighting, the adultery and abuse–but magically manage to avoid race. It wouldn’t matter; white or black, he’s still a complete dick, and I can’t think of a scenario where any non-Giants-fan would be rooting for him.

    desturbd1 April 11, 2007, 1:16 pm
  • Steve, you are (depressingly) completely wrong about Imus. Here’s the full exchange:
    IMUS: So, I watched the basketball game last night between — a little bit of Rutgers and Tennessee, the women’s final.
    ROSENBERG: Yeah, Tennessee won last night — seventh championship for [Tennessee coach] Pat Summitt, I-Man. They beat Rutgers by 13 points.
    IMUS: That’s some rough girls from Rutgers. Man, they got tattoos and —
    McGUIRK: Some hard-core hos.
    IMUS: That’s some nappy-headed hos there. I’m gonna tell you that now, man, that’s some — woo. And the girls from Tennessee, they all look cute, you know, so, like — kinda like — I don’t know.
    McGUIRK: A Spike Lee thing.
    IMUS: Yeah.
    McGUIRK: The Jigaboos vs. the Wannabes — that movie that he had.
    IMUS: Yeah, it was a tough —
    McCORD: Do The Right Thing.
    McGUIRK: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
    IMUS: I don’t know if I’d have wanted to beat Rutgers or not, but they did, right?
    ROSENBERG: It was a tough watch. The more I look at Rutgers, they look exactly like the Toronto Raptors.
    IMUS: Well, I guess, yeah.
    RUFFINO: Only tougher.
    McGUIRK: The [Memphis] Grizzlies would be more appropriate.
    Note that nobody calls or questions the sickening McGuirk on his cryptic use of the abhorrent term “jigaboos” (was he talking about the dynamic of the two basketball teams or the subtext of Lee’s film?). If Imus’ bosses want to keep him on the air, then I guess there’s nothing that can be done about that. But that doesn’t make he and his crew any less racist. This wasn’t just stupidity, it was clear, unadulterated hatred in addition to stupidity.

    SF April 11, 2007, 2:25 pm
  • For a three year old discussion of Bonds, race, and steroids, go here:

    SF April 11, 2007, 2:34 pm
  • McGuirk to me is the real despicable culprit in that exchange. He brought it up, he continued it, he introduced the words “hos” “Jigaboos” and “Grizzlies” into the conversation. I don’t know why he isn’t fired on the spot. At least Imus could say he was just throwing out a line he thought was funny in the context of the conversation. It’s not a good defense, but it’s a defense. Mcguirk is the guy who actually CREATED the context of the conversation.

    Paul SF April 11, 2007, 2:43 pm
  • Eh, Paul. They all created that context. The show has been/is a toxic fest of misanthropy. Rosenberg was fired for previous offensive comments, and Imus has had issues in the past. This is nothing out of character for any of these guys. The fact that during the conversation nobody objected to McGuirk but rather engaged his rhetoric shows their nature.
    They’re a bunch of bigots.

    SF April 11, 2007, 2:45 pm
  • Come on, Paul. That’s why Imus keeps McGuirk around. They have a long history of this, as covered today in Slate and yesterday in the NYT by Gwen Ifill.

    YF April 11, 2007, 2:47 pm
  • Well, that is true. And it is Imus’s show, and clearly it’s what he thrives on. I’m just surprised Imus hasn’t thrown McGuirk under the bus in an attempt to save his own skin. The fact that McGuirk even felt comfortable enough to say crap like that is very telling. I remember being offended by Imus’ slop when I was in junior high listening to WFAN. I don’t understand why (and this has been experessed dozens of times over the past week) politicians and journalists gave him credibility by appearing on the air with him.

    Paul SF April 11, 2007, 2:53 pm
  • I don’t understand why (and this has been experessed dozens of times over the past week) politicians and journalists gave him credibility by appearing on the air with him.
    Very simple answer: they love the exposure, the limelight, the egotistical gratification that comes with being on the air with him and which turns a journalist into a quasi-celebrity. They are, for lack of a better terms, hos.

    SF April 11, 2007, 3:08 pm
  • i stopped listening to morons like imus, and stern [for his disrespectful treatment of women and others] years ago…bonds has made himself a fairly unlikeable character over the years even before his alleged [key word] steroid use began…so there should be no surprise he’s not a big favorite outside of SF…i am a little surprised at aaron…i figured he’d take the high road…it seems a bit petty…

    dc April 11, 2007, 3:57 pm
  • he’s not a big favorite outside of SF
    Huh? Not sure what you mean. I am no huge fan of Bonds the person.
    Or do you mean San Francisco!? ;-)

    SF April 11, 2007, 5:23 pm
  • I’m parroting others on this point, but it is valid. The bigger issue isn’t the behavior and comments of Imus. It IS the culture of many of these on-air types — Limbaugh, Hannity, Coulter, to name a few. They all spew hateful, irresponsible rhetoric, call people awful names, etc. They all need to stop. They all need to be called on the carpet for doing it.

    I'm Bill McNeal April 11, 2007, 5:25 pm
  • //Steve, you are (depressingly) completely wrong about Imus. Here’s the full exchange://
    I’m sorry, but I still don’t buy it. If anything, it was McGuirk. Plus, Imus openly said that the girls from Tennessee (almost all black, mind you) were attractive. If he’s racist, what about that heavily-overlooked comment?
    I’m no Imus fan, and I’m not trying to defend him, but race is NOT the leading issue in that exchange. Sexism and unnecessary judgement, yes.
    I think it’s depressing that so many people ARE calling this a racist (and only a racist) situtation.

    Steve April 11, 2007, 5:32 pm
  • One of the things that bothers me about this Imus thing is that the country as a whole has exhibited a fairly significant double-standard about who it’s OK to belittle, and who it’s not. Imus has been referring to Arabs as “ragheads” for years, and has this caused anything resembling a problem? Not really. At least, I don’t remember ever hearing about it until after this latest thing. Just read this filth.
    Steve, most people are at least mentioning sex. But “nappy-headed” is not a word you use as part of a derision of someone who isn’t black, period. And African-American women have long been portrayed as beastlike and masculine by racist media; I’m actually in a class about race and sport, and trust me, this is a racial thing.
    Decades ago, white women who participated in athletics were, in a nutshell, considered “blacker” then other white women, because black women were, in the Anglo-European racist tradition, unfeminine and butch. Black women in sport, from the early to mid 1900’s, were portrayed on a level even lower then that. This is a gender issue, certainly, but more then that it is an issue of race.

    desturbd1 April 11, 2007, 5:42 pm
  • NBC has just announced that it will drop the MSNBC simulcast of Imus in the Morning.
    OK, next target: Fox.

    I'm Bill McNeal April 11, 2007, 6:36 pm
  • No, Steve, racism is the leading issue in this exchange. Sexism is also another issue that was part of the exchange. Even Imus acknowledges that what he said was racist.
    “Plus, Imus openly said that the girls from Tennessee (almost all black, mind you) were attractive. If he’s racist, what about that heavily-overlooked comment?”
    Really? Wow, in that case…I don’t get your point.

    Nick-YF April 11, 2007, 6:45 pm
  • How? How is it the “leading issue?”
    Because you (and the media, and Sharpton/Jackson) want it to be? It was a stupid sexist comment, but racism first and foremost, no. Period.

    Steve April 11, 2007, 8:07 pm
  • Finishing off that last comment, the fact that Imus went on to praise the looks of the Tennessee team who have just as many black players as opposed to the Rutgers team means that he wasn’t focusing on race in the least, he was focusing on the stereotypical “look” of the players with the tattoos and that kind of crap. Nappy-headed could be used to describe anything. I’m not buying that one.
    But I really have no desire to continue this argument, so chalk it up to a disagreement and let’s move on. It’s pretty easy to tell we’re not going to agree.

    Steve April 11, 2007, 8:10 pm
  • well steve, you’re not going to agree because you’re wrong…you can make the rather weak argument that the term “nappy” is not necessarily a racial insult, but you need to consider the context in which it was used this time…in any circumstance the term “nappy-headed hoes” is an insult…

    dc April 11, 2007, 8:41 pm

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