Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Big Mac seems sorry but it's not enough

I don't have a heart of stone so I got a little teary watching Mark McGwire cry multiple times during his interview with Bob Costas on MLB Network where he talked about his use of performance-enhancing drugs. Big Mac cried when he talked about the disappointment felt by Pat Maris, the widow of Roger Maris, when he told her about his steroid use. He cried when he talked about having to tell his parents, his oldest son and his former manager and future boss Tony LaRussa about his steroid use.
"I've let a lot of people down," McGwire said. "It doesn't feel good."
Unlike Alex Rodriguez's confession in front of his New York Yankee teammates, I believed McGwire was truly sorry. But McGwire refused to admit that the steroids helped him succeed in baseball, which is going to continue to be a problem for him.

I hope McGwire does get some comfort from unburdening his soul with this confession. He said he wanted to tell the truth during his Congressional testimony, but feared the legal jeopardy it might pose to his friends and family. "It was absolutely killing my heart," McGwire said.

Some people will argue that the public humiliation and obvious hurt this has caused him is punishment enough. I don't agree. I keep coming back to a point that Barry Larkin made quite eloquently. Larkin objected to McGwire's comment that he wished he hadn't played in the steroid era. Larkin said that regardless of the era, players made the choice whether or not to use steroids. Larkin, who should and will be in the Baseball Hall of Fame, also contended with numerous injuries and never succumbed to any temptation to use the drugs to manage his injuries, as McGwire did.

"I knew it was wrong," Larkin said. "I knew it was cheating, that's why I didn't do it."

I agree. The players can talk about steroid use not being banned in baseball until they are blue in the face. But they knew it was wrong and they did it anyway. McGwire's obvious pain indicates that he knew it was wrong and that he knows he hurt a lot of people and the game of baseball. That's why he and other users need to be held accountable.

Thanks to Rdikeman via Wikipedia for the photo.

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