Do not try to make Congress the villain here.
Do not compare this with McCarthyism.
And please do not dismiss the scheduled congressional hearing on steroids as a witch-hunt.
McCarthyism and the Salem witch trials were runaway overreactions fueled by irrational fear of communist infiltration and witches. Lots of innocent people were ruined by Sen. Joseph McCarthy's hearings. Lots of innocent people were executed in Puritanical Salem.
Yet we know there have been lots of "communists" and "witches" in baseball -- lots of steroid users. As Curt Schilling said in 2002: "Half the players are using steroids, and half have thought about it."
We know that a year ago, around 60 major-league baseball players tested positive for steroids after an entire offseason to cycle off the juice for a scheduled urine sample. That triggered this year's random testing with the possible first-offense penalty of public disgrace.
We know that, according to leaked grand jury testimony, Jason Giambi and Barry Bonds said they used steroids -- though Bonds said he took them unwittingly.
And we know that in his book "Juiced," Jose Canseco gives detailed eyewitness accounts of using steroids with Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro, among others. In fact, Canseco writes that he injected McGwire and Palmeiro.
|Why are we about to see congressional hearings about steroids? Jason Whitlock says it's because Barry Bonds is about to pass The Babe.|
Feel free to attack Canseco's credibility -- in every area except steroids. On that subject, he is, as he calls himself, "The Chemist" and the Godfather of Steroids. I've read every word of "Juiced"; and while he might have exaggerated here and there, he leaves no doubt he's extremely knowledgeable and believable on steroid use.
That includes how and who.
Yes, he has an ax to grind. He believes baseball blackballed him and ruined a potential Hall of Fame legacy by making him its poster boy for steroid use -- and its sole scapegoat. The underlying theme of his book is: Baseball got me, so I'm going to get all the hypocrites who were shooting steroids and slugging home runs while I was being vilified.
If this is what it took to raise the window shade on baseball's dirtiest little secret, fine by me.
I want the truth dragged into the sunlight for all to see and ponder. I want stronger steroid laws and stronger tests for steroids and human growth hormone in all professional sports. I want parents to understand the use and abuse of steroids almost as well as Canseco does.
If that takes government intervention, so be it.
Call me a communist if you like. But I've said for years that professional athletes should have to waive their right to privacy and be tested on a daily basis for performance-enhancing drugs, as well as cocaine and marijuana. That should be the sacrifice for the opportunity to make millions while being hero-worshiped by millions. I wish athletes weren't viewed by millions of kids as role models. But they always have been and always will be.