Thursday, April 22, 2010

Rumor mongers owe Teix an apology

The Internet has been a wonderful communication and research tool, but this week we saw the ugly side of the medium when rumors started flying that New York Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira could possibly be suspended for using performance-enhancing drugs. It turned out that Cincinnati Reds pitcher Edinson Volquez was the one who was busted for testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance in violation of Major League Baseball's drug testing program, receiving a 50-game suspension.

Teix laughed off the rumors, but he did point out that he was one of the few players pushing for a stronger testing program.

But as a journalist, Teix fan and sports aficionado highly offended by the use of PED in baseball, I find it seriously disturbing that these accusations and implications were being tossed around without anything resembling solid proof. People often feel free to say whatever they want on the Internet, but accusing a player of such behavior without any concrete evidence is the height of irresponsibility and a prime example of people taking their free speech rights one step too far.

Innocent until proven guilty is supposed to be a core part of American values. But it seems like when it comes to steroids in baseball, it's really guilty until proven innocent. And that should not be the case. As many players that have been busted for PED use, it's important to remember that the vast majority of players never tested positive for steroids or human growth hormone.

The Bleacher Report ran a column about the rumors, defending Teix as one of the few players, along with teammate Derek Jeter, that baseball fans can count on being clean. But several blogs cited the Bleacher Report as the source of a story that supposedly indicated that Teix could be suspended for steroids. The story has since been deleted. If Bleacher Report, a site I regularly look to for Yankees news, did run such a story, it owes its readers an explanation about why it ran the story and where it got the faulty information. I've reached out to the company for comment and will share whatever I hear back.

Because Teix is a famous person, he doesn't have much recourse to fight back against these false accusations. But at the very least anyone who spread these rumors owes him a sincere apology for even implying that he had anything to do with behavior that has caused so much damage to the game of baseball.

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