Great article, it's incredibly rational. He makes quite a few of the points that I've made over the years.
As we move forward in time, more and more people are going to use more and more drugs in an effort to stay young. Many of these drugs are going to be steroids or the descendants of steroids. If we look into the future, then, we can reliably foresee a time in which everybody is going to be using steroids or their pharmaceutical descendants. We will learn to control the health risks of these drugs, or we will develop alternatives to them. Once that happens, people will start living to age 200 or 300 or 1,000, and doctors will begin routinely prescribing drugs to help you live to be 200 or 300 or 1,000. If you look into the future 40 or 50 years, I think it is quite likely that every citizen will routinely take anti-aging pills every day.
Exactly. And this is already happening on a wide scale in the country. It's why I laugh when I hear the media talk about the "Steroid Era" being over. We live in a society where people routinely take drugs to improve themselves and stay young. Athletes are simply a product of that society. This is one of the main reasons why I don't think steroids should be against the rule of any sport. The PED culture in professional (and amateur) sports will never end.
The argument for discriminating against PED users rests upon the assumption of the moral superiority of non-drug users. But in a culture in which everyone routinely uses steroids, that argument cannot possibly prevail. You can like it or you can dislike it, but your grandchildren are going to be steroid users. Therefore, they are very likely to be people who do not regard the use of steroids as a moral failing. They are more likely to regard the banning of steroids as a bizarre artifice of the past.
Another good point. I've never understood why people feel that the non-drug users are morally superior, and as he said, that trend will change with time.
But at the same time, I do not believe that history will look at this issue from the standpoint of Will Clark. I don’t see how it can. What it seems to me that the Will Clark defenders have not come to terms with is the breadth and depth of the PED problem, which began in the 1960s and expanded without resistance for almost 40 years, eventually involving generations of players. It seems to me that the Will Clark defenders are still looking at the issue as one of “some” players gaining an advantage by using Performance Enhancing Drugs. But it wasn’t really an issue of some players gaining an advantage by the use of Performance Enhancing Drugs; it is an issue of many players using Performance Enhancing drugs in competition with one another. Nobody knows how many. It would be my estimate that it was somewhere between 40 and 80%.
Right. The "Steroid Era" didn't simply start in the late 80s with Jose Canseco and end in 2006. It's been an ongoing culture since the 1960s (and we aren't even talking about amphetamines), and it hasn't stopped yet.
The discrimination against PED users in Hall of Fame voting rests upon the perception that this was cheating.
But is it cheating if one violates a rule that nobody is enforcing, and which one may legitimately see as being widely ignored by those within the competition? It seems to me that, at some point, this becomes an impossible argument to sustain—that all of these players were “cheating”, in a climate in which most everybody was doing the same things, and in which there was either no rule against doing these things or zero enforcement of those rules. If one player is using a corked bat, like Babe Ruth, clearly, he’s cheating. But if 80% of the players are using corked bats and no one is enforcing any rules against it, are they all cheating? One better: if 80% of the players are using corked bats and it is unclear whether there are or are not any rules against it, is that cheating?
Of course it wasn't cheating. The players were just doing what they had to do to keep up with the competition. And before 2002, there was no rule against doing any such thing.
And…was there really a rule against the use of Performance Enhancing Drugs? At best, it is a debatable point.
The Commissioner issued edicts banning the use of Performance Enhancing Drugs. People who were raised on the image of an all-powerful commissioner whose every word was law are thus inclined to believe that there was a rule against it.
The “rule” against Performance Enhancing Drugs, if there was such a rule before 2002, by-passed all of these gates. It was never agreed to by the players, who clearly and absolutely have a right to participate in the process of changing any and all rules to which they are subject. It was not included in any of the various rule books that define the conduct of the game from various perspectives. There was no process for enforcing such a rule. The punishments were draconian in theory and non-existent in fact.
Exactly! A memo from the commissioner doesn't constitute a rule. It never did. A rule has to be agreed to by the MLBPA in the CBA.