Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Steroids Witchhunt

By Terrie Albano

It's a witchhunt.

That's what I told my baseball-loving husband when I saw the headlines and heard the radio reports about the widespread abuse of steroids in professional baseball.

I said replace steroids with communists and you have a witchhunt. Federal officials getting baseball coaches and players to name names. Players photos splattered across the front pages: Bonds, Clemens, Pettitte, Giambi, etc., etc. All tried and convicted of being RoidHeads.

And they may be.

Just like there were leftwingers and communists in all sorts of jobs and industries.

There is a difference though. Political opinions weren't illegal, although the forces that be wanted to outlaw the left, especially in the union movement. Yet steroid use, without a prescription, is illegal. So where did these guys get all these steroids? And how come they were being injected with them in the clubs' locker rooms by coaches on the teams' payrolls?

Come on ...why aren't the owners photos splattered on the front pages? They allowed it. Encouraged it. Profited from it.

Or why aren't the CEOs of Big Pharma on the front page...come on where do all these steroids come from in the first place?

The drive for profits corrupts everything. Even America's sport. My husband is angry with the athletes who allowed themselves to be corrupted. These multi-millionaires made choices too. Yet at the same time he goes through a litany of reasons why these were limited choices for them. Plus every steroid injection affects THEIR health, THEIRbodies. Not the owners or Bud Selig's.

I still think it's a witchhunt. The whole thing is about naming names.

And who is going to come out weaker? The Players Union. And who will come out stronger? The Owners.

Unfortunately sports fans are probably disgusted with both players and owners. Fans see ticket price increase, corporate suites at the ballparks and have been alienated from the sport they love by this multi-billion dollar industry.

Maybe all the cities should flex their muscle and declare eminent domain on the sports teams. Since they are an economic necessity to cities. And instead of the profits going to investors, they could go to city and county and state services like mass transit and public schools. Ticket prices could be slashed along with corporate salaries. Players would get more than enough salary to live a comfortable life. And there would be public oversight - made up of players representatives, consumer advocates, health care experts, maybe even fan representation - if they organize themselves - to make sure no illegal steroid or other drug use is pushed.

Even if these guys caved in to the corruption, I still think it's a disgusting witchhunt with corporate profits at the root of it all.

1 comment:

normandmarkowitz said...

Having written on this before for PA(the general steroids issue) I couldn't agree more with Terrie. Also, an economist friend of mine made this point very recently: that the scandal in the subprime loan market, which has produced a disaster that is costing people there homes, was a little bit like the Steroids issue in baseball in that everybody knew it was happening and nobody(in terms of the owners, the bosses) did any thing about it because the money kept on rolling in(in baseball all the homeruns and other records boosted attendance and profits).

The big point though is that the Steroids issue in sports hurts the players who took the steroids, not the larger economy. There is no "level playing field" under capitalism anywhere, and everyone is encouraged to gain competitive advantage in everything. Only a cooperative socialist society can change that. As for baseball, a game I have followed since I was seven years old, nobody has accused Cuban players who are in Cuba anywhere of taking steroids, and the game is much more open and accessible to the masses of people, who don't have to pay exhorbitant ticket prices to see it.