Forgive this non-Rays post, but I just want to know how off base I am. McGwire admitted to taking steroids. He joins the list of "admitted" performance enhancing users. Some writers will never vote for anyone who admitted to taking steroids. Some want to see an apology before considering for the Hall. Some, like Buster Olney, blame the whole system, himself and all other baseball journalists included, for looking the other way. Others just throw up their hands and say how can you punish only the few for the mistakes of the many. Rob Neyer would be one of these individuals.
He is not alone. There are many that are siding with this sentiment and over time could be what allows McGwire, A-Rod, Roger Clemens and others to make it to the Hall. Unfortunately, Neyer represents what is wrong with this debate, and perhaps where we stand as a society as a whole in a postmodern world.
Think back to when you were a child and recall if you ever got caught doing something you shouldn't have. In a hail-mary defense, did you ever tell your parents "Everybody's doing it!" It's a logical concept to try to show that you are no worse, no dirtier than anyone else. A defense by numbers strategy. Now, if you were among those who tried this defense, think back to how "well" it worked. My question is...why should it work now?
Has our society really fallen so much that we cannot stand up and say this is 'right' or this is 'wrong'? There are consequences for actions. If A, then B. If you steal something from a store and get caught, you will get into trouble. If you cheat on a test at school and get caught, you will get into trouble. Why do we have such a hard time with what to do with steroid and performance enhancing users when it comes to the Hall?
If the discussion is about playing the "blame game" then there's plenty to go around. But that doesn't excuse the actions. Nor is it a viable defense to say that since very few people got caught, the ones that did shouldn't be punished because it's not "fair." What's "fair" is that those who break the rules should not be rewarded.
Rob Neyer seems to think that McGwire shouldn't be "pressured" to admit wrongdoing. It seems to me he's defending the wrong side of things. I think he would feel differently if it wasn't a baseball player he was speaking of, but rather one of his children doing drugs. I don't think the "everybody's doing it" defense would work well there.
It's bad enough that these players profitted from their illegal activity. But the real shame would then be to reward them by giving them the highest honor possible to someone in their profession. It's not about baseball. It's not about steroids. It's about being a man, owning up to your actions and taking responsibility for them.
If anything, we need more accountability in this country. It doesn't matter who's to blame or who's more to blame. What matters is if someone did something wrong and gets caught, there will be consequences--and not rewards. "Everybody's doing it" didn't work in grade school. And it shouldn't work now.