There were two major non-Super Bowl related sports stories last week. They both involved big name athletes using PEDs. There was the story from our sister paper Miami New Timesinvolving Alex Rodriguez and numerous other baseball players. And there was the bizarre story with Ray Lewis and deer antler spray.
Guess which story sparked the most outrage?
The national baseball press once again experienced a case of the vapors. There were multiple calls for the New York Yankees to void the contract of Rodriguez while calls of innocence from players like Gio Gonzalez were either ignored or doubted. When it came to Lewis, however, the outrage was different. The outrage dealt with poor Lewis having his Super Bowl experience muddied by the allegations.
I've always been somewhat sympathetic towards A-Rod. He's a fantastic baseball player, yet no matter what he does, he's hated. Many people think he's fake. I think he just tries too hard. Derek Jeter dates beautiful, famous women, and he's worshiped. A-Rod dates a famous, beautiful woman, and he's mocked.
But this isn't so much about A-Rod as it is about how the media goes into full-blown meltdown mode when it comes to baseball and PEDs. It doesn't seem to matter in any other sport, but if something like this happens in baseball, then it's seemingly the end of the world as we know it. Yet the Ray Lewis revelations brought up a bunch of jokes, and the outrage was generated towards those who dared to question Lewis about his usage while destroying his Super Bowl experience.
Why is it no big deal that a football player used PEDs? This happens all of the time in the NFL. There's no national outrage when a NFL player is suspended for PED usage. But if this happens in baseball, the media goes on about how it's all indicative of how the country is in moral decay and about to collapse.
And if a story about A-Rod using PEDs came out during the World Series, do you think those covering the games would give him a break so that his experience wouldn't be ruined? Bob Costas would whine and moan about the game's integrity being destroyed, then he would force Rodriguez to sit down for an hour-long interview during batting practice. Joe Buck and Tim McCarver would drone on and on during the game about the allegations against A-Rod.
Maybe the problem is that A-Rod hasn't been involved with any murders? Or loudly embraced God at every turn? Maybe if A-Rod claimed that God was behind everything that he does, then maybe A-Rod would be as embraced as Ray Lewis? Then again, knowing how A-Rod is treated by most of the media, he would be called out as a phony and would be denounced for trying to hide behind God. It's something that I just can't understand. Alex Rodriguez's a continuing subject of national contempt. Ray Lewis is a treated as a genuinely great guy who is the great team leader setting an example of a righteous life for all to follow. Everything that Rodriguez does is supposedly a calculated attempt to create a winning persona. Nothing that he does is genuine.
Ray Lewis has brainwashed the media while nothing that Alex Rodriguez does works. Maybe it's just that football/baseball thing that I can't understand. That it's okay to take PEDs while playing football while it's the worst crime in the world if one's a baseball player. It doesn't make sense. If taking PEDs is so damn bad, then the anger and the outrage behind the PED usage should be as equal for every sport.
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Or maybe there is just a really simple explanation for the differing treatment of Rodriguez and Lewis. Perhaps the national media is not afraid of A-Rod while they're terrified that they'll come to some kind of personal harm if they criticize Lewis too much.
And while we're discussing A-Rod and PEDs, I would also request that the national media invoke what I'm calling the Jeff Bagwell-Guilt-By-Association Rule. If Bagwell is guilty of PED usage and must be kept out of the Hall of Fame because he was friends with and played with Ken Caminiti, Roger Clemens, and Andy Pettitte, then it stands to reason that Derek Jeter used PEDs and must be kept out of the Hall of Fame because Jeter played with A-Rod, Jose Canseco, Pettitte, Clemens, and lots others.
Then again, if there was such a thing as karma in this world, Ray Lewis wouldn't be able to hide behind God, and Alex Rodriguez would be allowed to hide behind Kate Hudson or whoever he happens to be dating at the moment.