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Home > Blog > Swing and a Miss
Out of Our Minds
Saturday, February 12, 2005 11:06 PM
Swing and a Miss
Kevin Salwen on Culture

Sometimes the world of sports can be downright amusing -- and other times downright painful to watch. This week was both. On Thursday, superstar first baseman Jason Giambi of the New York Yankees met with the media to tell all -- ok, just some -- of what he knows about the steroid scandal that is threatening to engulf the sport. Consider this report by the Associated Press under the headline: 'Giambi Apologizes -- But Won't Say For What.'

NEW YORK (AP) -- Jason Giambi twiddled his thumbs, crossed his legs and fidgeted in his chair.

He said he was sorry five times. He apologized three times.

To the New York Yankees. To his teammates. To the fans.

But he never said why. And he never talked about using steroids, never mentioned the word.

Giambi came to Yankee Stadium on Thursday to make his first public comments since it was reported in December that he'd told a federal grand jury in 2003 that he took steroids for at least three seasons.

'When I went into that grand jury, I told the truth,'' he said.

But that's about as far as he went, despite repeated prodding.

Baseball is getting tested in the same way Johnson & Johnson was with Tylenol, Tyco was with Dennis Koslowski, WorldCom was with Bernie Ebbers, etc. How it is handled from here by the players and by the league will tell us a lot. Giambi appears to be off to an iffy start.


4 comments

Mindwalker - 2/14/2005 2:05:42 PM
Fred, Jose Canseco answered that question for you on '60 Minutes':

'I don't recommend steroids for everyone and I don't recommend growth hormones for everyone,' Canseco told Mike Wallace. 'But for certain individuals, I truly believe, because I've experimented with it for so many years, that it can make an average athlete a super athlete. It can make a super athlete incredible. Just legendary.'

So yes, Fred, according to Jose Canseco, it's okay. The ballyhooed Yankees even said it's okay when they agreed to strike out an anti-steroids clause in Giambi's contract.

After all, when you're doing irrevocable damage both to your body and the integrity of the game, it's considered part of the cost of doing business now. Game the system, get ahead, get the fame, get the glory, get the moey, die at 50.

Feh.

In my view, there is a huge difference between 'gaming the system' and outright breaking the law. Whether it's Enron or Barry Bonds, breaking the law is still breaking the law. As far as a I know, insider trading and taking steroids are both still illegal.
Fred - 2/14/2005 12:41:49 PM
Should we view these acts as part of gaming the system? Is that the fastest way to get ahead in business in this current day and age? Is the fear of retribution so diminished that gaming the system becomes only part of competition?
Wendy - 2/13/2005 11:58:36 PM
I disagree with Joan, an emotional contract is the same no matter if it was made in the kitchen, the boardroom or on ESPN. Your brain does not discriminate, it is a slash to the soul either way. It hurts. You may choice to process it through your prefrontal cortex, but the other parts of your brain feel the jolt and the molecules of emotion run every system in the body.
Joan - 2/13/2005 6:21:49 PM
When Tylenol was tainted, and when women using Rely tampons were dying of Toxic Shock Syndrome, the public was in real danger. Obtaining the truth was absolutely in the public interest. Mr. Giambi's steroid use is more of a con game. We emptied our pockets (for endorsements, advertising, tickets, etc.) thinking he was one kind of professional, and we have learned, whether he articulates it through apologies or straight talk, that he was a performer of another kind. God help us if we hold circus acts and 3-card Monty shysters to the same standards as boards of directors and top executives when the safety of consumers is severely compromised.

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