Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Why Let Facts Get In The Way Of A Good Steroids Story?

I guess this is my addendum to the rant below. In 2003, Terrmel Sledge was suspended from international competition for taking a banned substance.

The substance was a form of androstenedione (Andro), which, at the time, was legally sold over-the-counter and was not banned by baseball--nor any US professional sport as far as i know.

Yet, this is how the AP decides to play it today:
Washington (AP) - Washington Nationals outfielder Terrmel Sledge knows all too well the damage that can come from steroid use.

Major League Baseball didn't punish Sledge when he tested positive for steroids two years ago. But the damage to his reputation was more than enough to keep him clean.

This kind of crap really pisses me off. First, the substance wasn't banned anywhere, but in international competition. Second, there are many who would debate whether its a steroid or just a controlled substance.

I can't stand it when sportswriters mold the facts to fit their preformatted boilerplate templates. There's no need to tarnish or drag a player through the mud because it conveniently fits your storyline.

It's particularly stupid, because this story is over two years old. It was settled then and barely registered a blip then. Dragging it out now is unfair to Sledge and unfair to the readers who, not knowing the background of the story, will leap to conclusions based on tha paucity of facts presented.

It's a good thing this AP writer wasn't based in Salem in 1692.


  • I think this is a valid story. Sledge was not tested by MLB but by the International Olympic Committee. Sledge was attempting to play on an Olympic team where the Steroid was banned. MLB should have punished him, similiar to the way players get punished for drug driving.
    This is a great example on how widespread the use of steriods is amoung baseball players. Sledge tried using an unfair substance to gain an advantage over the opponent and his teammates for a position on the squad.
    The knowledge that players on all levels are using steriod is another reason that testing should be expanded from just the urine testing to include a blood test. In fact, baseball should partner with the Olympic Committee since they appear to have a pretty good testing program.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2/23/2005 1:25 PM  

  • No, the story is not valid because it tries to tar him, by insinuating that he did something illegal when, at the time MLB had no problem with it. And, more importantly, the FDA had no problem with it either. You or I could have bought it over the counter at any vitamin or nutritional store.

    That's my objection to it. He did nothing wrong at the time, based on the rules in place. And now, two years after the fact, they're calling him out on it for violating rules that were put in place AFTER the incident.

    It's especially troubling when there are so many other wild accusations, most of them unsubstantiated but possibly valid, swirling around. It's not fair to Sledge to paint him with that broad brush, just because it's a titillating headline.

    The debate about whether it was appropriate to take the substance in the first place is a completely separate issue and its one that would require a lot more facts about the incident than what we've seen so far--that's why I'm not touching that.

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 2/23/2005 1:31 PM  

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