Well, I Guess There Was This One Time…

I should have picked a different example when I chose Brian Roberts as being unfairly accused of steroids use in the Mitchell report. You know, you trust someone and they let you down. Brian Roberts has confessed to using steroids one-time in 2003. Afterwards, he came to the realization steroid use was not in line with what he “stood for” and hasn’t used since.

Who uses steroids once? What about steroids that could be learned after one use couldn’t have been deduced beforehand? Were you unclear of where you were morally? Were you uncertain as to whether you would enjoy having another man stick needles in your butt?

We heard a song of a similar tune from Andy Pettitte, admitting he used HGH on two occasions in 2002. He said:

In 2002 I was injured. I had heard that human growth hormone could promote faster healing for my elbow,” Pettitte said in the statement released to The Associated Press by agent Randy Hendricks. “I felt an obligation to get back to my team as soon as possible. For this reason, and only this reason, for two days I tried human growth hormone. Though it was not against baseball rules, I was not comfortable with what I was doing, so I stopped.

“This is it — two days out of my life; two days out of my entire career, when I was injured and on the disabled list,” he said. “I wasn’t looking for an edge. I was looking to heal.”

Being able to recover from an injury faster than normally possible isn’t an edge? Is he deluded? He states an obligation to his team, as though most steroid users aren’t looking to help their team. He, also, is quick to mention that it wasn’t explicitly against baseball rules. True enough, but don’t be naive.

Is this what we will see now? Players saying I only cheated this one time? Players claiming it wasn’t against the rules, so they didn’t cheat? How many times does a player have to take steroids or HGH before he is officially a charlatan? If they took steroids or HGH, but it wasn’t officially banned by the MLB does that make it OK? Or at least not as bad?
These are tough questions because, although I don’t know why someone would use steroids once, using on one occasion wouldn’t have much of an effect on your career, short or long-term. This makes it the perfect mea culpa. Brian Roberts hit 5 home runs in the 2003 season, so it’s tough to really see him as a villain. Baseball was completely asleep at the wheel, so if you saw a good number of your colleagues taking such drugs without repercussions are you less guilty for following suit?

People make mistakes all the time. I make them often. But if I was allowed to make mistakes one or two times before I was held accountable I’d have a laundry list of things I’d be doing tonight. Some mistakes are more grievous than others and taking performance enhancing drugs once is, I suppose, not as dishonorable as recurrent use over a long period of time. But I fear that people will use these rationalizations simply as a means of lessening public scorn. One last ruse in a long line of deceptions.

While I want to forgive these players, I don’t know that I should. They’ve lied before–Andy Pettitte, for example, has previously claimed to have never taken any performance enhancers–so what is one more lie? I want to believe them. I want to believe that our heroes were only guilty of momentary lapses in judgment, but I can’t know for sure. But considering they have trampled on my trust before, making me at least slightly skeptical of all modern athletic achievements, I don’t feel I owe them anything.

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