This week reports came out about baseball’s ongoing steroid scandal, citing lawyer’s statements that both Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz tested positive for steroid abuse in 2003. In 2004, these two led the Boston Red Sox to a World Series victory over the St. Louis Cardinals, crowning Ramirez the World Series Most Valuable Player and Ortiz the American League Championship Series MVP.

This is the second time this year that Ramirez has been tied to steroid use — the previous occasion back in May resulted in a 50-game suspension. Earlier this year, famed sluggers Alex Rodriguez (572 career home runs) and Barry Bonds (all-time home run leader at 762, Hank Aaron 2nd at 755) were outed by the same 2003 report as having used steroids.

Although I do applaud the league’s enforcement of their rules and the suspension of Ramirez for the current year’s infraction, where is the outrage on behalf of the fans? The affects of these damning reports seem to suggest that the fans don’t have a problem with players using steroids. Fans may not like it, but, by and large, they do not go so far as to boycott games. In fact, a report issued in May had indicated just a 4.4 percent drop in attendance from last year for games played in April. But the decline is attributed to the economic downturn.

And after a nearly year-long financial crisis that outed the financial industry’s cheaters and the regular outing of politicians who either cheated on their wives or cheated on their taxes, is there no outrage left in us? Have we established ours as a culture where it is OK to cheat as long as you don’t get caught, and, if you do get caught, just wait for it to blow over? What about those who are out on the diamond playing their hearts out, who are not using steroids. Don’t they deserve our outrage? And when it comes to something as trivial as baseball or as important as an election, what is the best way to communicate our outrage?

So what does this mean for our society? Is this the American way? Do we expect our leaders to cheat in order to be leaders? What do you think?

(photo: Alex Rodriguez, David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez at the 2008 MLB All-Star Game. Getty Images/Jim McIsaac)


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Hi Mitch,

Big league baseball is basically self-regulating, as many other field of endeavor are in America - given our founding documents bias to limited gov't. If the players hurt by the cheaters do not sue the cheaters or take other action to drive them out of business, then the public at large will likely turn away from it, eventually.

Cheating seems to becoming more acceptable...even in the workplace. The level of expectations as far as ethics used to be assumed but now there is no trust as cheaters are become more prevelent...I just got off of a team working in a financial institution and the team was full of cheaters and it was acceptable...I help myself to my ethical standard and would not participate..guess who got layed off from this job? yes, me....

Yes, it's true fans are still going to the games. However, in Atlanta yesterday, Manny was
booed every time he went to bat. By the way no hits for him in this game, I believe.

I remember my dad commenting often about his dismay that so many of his peers at church seemed to believe that "it's only cheating if you get caught" as it applied to relatively minor infractions like driving over the speed limit to more potentially damaging ethical/moral issues in confronted by business owners and other members of our congregation.
Dad believed that an essential part of a christian lifestyle was to obey laws in all areas of life, regardless of what one might be able to "get away" with. "Render unto Caesar..." etc.
It is of course too easy to over simplify moral issues as we see how they apply to others, but when reflecting on my own life, I realize that there are so many mitigating factors for each of us that it is not fair to judge others with no consideration for the particulars of each persons struggles and difficult choices they face in their lives.
The problem that I find impossible to resolve these days is that it is impossible to know actual facts, since our mainstream media focuses on scandals and other negative experiences that we all struggle with at times, and those who make news are convicted before they ever get a fair hearing.
I read a lot in an effort to sift and sort fact from fiction, and am disheartened by the number of political figures, sports heroes, and others in the public eye who have contributed great things to their communities and nation, but end up spending their time trying to defend actions that happen to all of us, but for some reason they have to live "perfect" lives.
An unforgiving society is an unhealthy place to raise our children, where I want to teach that it is okay to make mistakes, but is not okay to walk away from them. But how can I teach my children to face up to their mistakes if I know that they will be made into an "example" rather than dealt with constructively? For their own survival I fear that they will need to be extremely careful who they talk to with any level of trust, since our communities and nation are so quick to condemn with no consideration for the individual circumstances leading up to misjudgements and mistakes that often happen when they feel cornered or get talked into doing something "daring" by friends, etc.
For a nation that considers itself christian, I wonder why the focus is so much on punitive justice rather than restorative justice? If the golden rule is truly considered to be a apart of christian belief, then our nation needs to change its hypocritical ways.
How we treat others in our society is one key point that we are judged on as a nation. We have made some progress since electing Barack Obama, but have miles to go before we can sleep with clear conscience.

apples