Sunday, December 16, 2007

PETTITE ADMITS USE. . . And it makes me think of a solution to this mess

Pettitte, in a statement released by agent Randy Hendricks, admitted using human growth hormone (HGH) on two occasions but denied ever having used steroids.

"Everything else written or said about me knowingly using illegal drugs is nonsense, wrong and hurtful," Pettitte said. "I have the utmost respect for baseball and have always tried to live my life in a way that would be honorable. I wasn't looking for an edge; I was looking to heal.

"If I have let down people that care about me, I am sorry, but I hope that you will listen to me carefully and understand that two days of perhaps bad judgment should not ruin a lifetime of hard work and dedication. I have tried to do things the right way my entire life, and, again, ask that you put those two days in the proper context."

I want to believe him. Why didn't he talk to the investigators? He knew they had the Jason Grimsley evidence to which he was rumored to be linked last spring. Was he too embarrassed to say anything at first or was he waiting to see what the report would say so as not to implicate himself in things the committee doesn't know about?

By admitting to everything in the Mitchell Report, Pettite makes it harder for Clemens and the others involved with McNamee to say McNamee was lying.

This is what brings us back to the Black Sox. There are varying degrees of guilt in both situations. Some players took money and helped to throw games like Cicotte. Some players took money and played their hardest like Shoeless Joe. Others took no money and didn't tank but were implicated because of their knowledge of the conspiracy like Buck Weaver. In the Black Sox case all the players were treated the same.

Where Landis went too far was in the second and third examples. Cicotte you had to banish, but I wouldn't have punished Weaver simply for knowledge. Shoeless Joe is the toughest case. There has to be a penalty for taking money from gamblers, but a guy who hit .375 certainly wasn't throwing the series. Do you give him one or two years suspension?

One of the problems here may be that Landis gave us the wrong kind of precedent. Had he passed sentence for degrees of culpability instead of a blanket response, it would be much easier to wade through the true murkiness of this swamp today.

Baseball should ask all players to come forward under a sort of limited immunity and receive some sort of punishment for full disclosure. For instance, the extent of the use of the drug would determine how long a player would be suspended. Any player who did not come forward during the immunity offer or any player not disclosing their entire use of the stuff would be banned for life if proof contradicted their position.

Then from here on out all players would know that use of HGH or Steroids or whatever else may be invented in the future will end their careers. If guys want to use a supplement or a cream then it needs to be administered by the team doctor or tested by MLB.

I think best part of the full disclosure is that it doesn't disproportionately hurt some users over others and it also takes away stigma on some players who are clean. It would have been a better solution before the Mitchell Report was released when guilty players still didn't know if they were going to named, but better late than never.

It also allows HOF voters to determine how long or how much of the stuff contributed to their numbers and whether the stuff had an impact on their perceived greatness. If baseball wants the public to think the doping will cease, I think this would work.

1 comment:

Dude said...

I can't wait until Baseball Tonight starts back up and Fernando Vina gets to talk about the subject.

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