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Honesty still best policy

OK, so who cut the funding for Accountability 101?

Or, rather, who decided that it’s no longer a necessary lesson in Life

Studies?



What?

We never taught that subject?




What about Responsibility or Honesty?

If those weren’t covered in class, then where did we learn them?

If you’ve got an answer, hurry up and let us know, because we’ve noticed a serious drought of all three lately.

First, it was Jason Giambi ” formerly a beloved Oakland A, currently a hated New York Yankee (or so I hear) ” who called upon the capital of the media world for a earth-shaking press conference in which he announced … “I’m sorry.”

Press: “Um … about what?”

Giambi: “Uh … nothin’, just sorry. OK, thanks for coming.”

Well, at least he’s saying so.

Second, it’s Barry Bonds ” formerly and currently a hated San Francisco Giant (or so I hear) ” who showed up at a Spring Training press conference dead set on shooting those damn messengers right between the eyes … “You’re all a bunch of liars.”

Press: “Um … what?”

Bonds: “You guys are like rerunning stories. This is old stuff. It’s like watching ‘Sanford and Son.’ It’s almost comical, basically. … Are you guys jealous, upset, disappointed, what?”

Well, at least he’s admitted to “unknowingly” doing something wrong.

Third, it’s Mark McGwire ” formerly the savior of baseball, currently the apparent goat of the game (or so I hear) ” who sat before a United States Congressional panel, with the entire sports world hanging on his every word after being asked if he had ever used steroids, and said … “Yeah, right, OK … uh, like I said before ‘I’m not here to talk about the past.'”

Well, at least he didn’t actually have to say “I plead the fifth.”

To be honest, such behavior is hardly confined to the sports world. We’ve seen such displayed at the highest office of our nation, whether lying about a mistake or denying that one ever happened in the first place.

Should we expect more from our sports stars than we do our presidents? 

Of course all three of our lead characters in the summer miniseries “MLB 2005-The Season After” say they are absolutely committed to ridding our national pastime of the poison known as steroids.

They want to find a solution, but don’t want to admit to having been part of the problem.

Yeah, that should work.

“Hi kids, I’m Mark McGwire, former Major League Baseball player. In 16 seasons in the big leagues, I belted 583 home runs, including 70 in one summer alone ” all of which allowed me to earn enough money playing the game of baseball that I could afford to leave a $30 million contract offer on the table when I decided to retire.

“Steroids? Um, I don’t like to talk about the past … but kids, don’t you

do them, OK?”

Earlier this week, I spotted an Associated Press story stating that the media coverage of the steroid scandal will only increase the use of steroids by young athletes.

But Rep. Christopher Shays, (R-Conn.), the second-ranking Republican on the House Government Reform Committee that held the hearings, rejected such criticism.

“That’s pretty naive,” said Shays in that AP story. “That’s like saying

my children, when they grew up, didn’t know about sex. The kids know about this stuff, and the problem is: What are we going to do about it?”

Here’s a start, let’s have an open and honest discussion on the topic, ones like Sports Illustrated had with former NFL great Lyle Alzado in 1991, before he succumbed to the brain cancer he believed to have caused himself by his steroid use.

“I started taking anabolic steroids in 1969 and never stopped,”

Alzado told SI. “It was addicting, mentally addicting. Now I’m sick, and I’m scared. Ninety percent of the athletes I know are on the stuff.

“We’re not born to be 300 pounds or jump 30 feet. But all the time I was taking steroids, I knew they were making me play better. I became very violent on the field and off it. I did things only crazy people do. Once a guy sideswiped my car and I beat the hell out of him.

“Now look at me. My hair’s gone, I wobble when I walk and have to hold on to someone for support, and I have trouble remembering things. My last wish? That no one else ever dies this way.”

Honesty might not always be the easiest, but it has been certainly proven to be the best policy ” in all trying times ” time and again.

Anything less only leaves the credibility of any proposed solutions in question.

ooo

Brian Hamilton is sports editor at The Union. He may be reached via e-mail at brianh@theunion.com or by phone at 477-4240.


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