A lot of stuff in the sports news the past month has been in need of some attention.

  • Kenny Rogers appeals his suspension for attacking a TV cameraman without provocation and wins a suspension reduction (20 games to 13, which for a pitcher making a start every 4-5 games results in 2-3 starts missed).
  • Rafael Palmeiro is suspended 10 games as a first time offender (good thing they only started testing this season) for testing positive for steroids. Rafael, defending the person he portrayed (“I have never used steroids — period.”) in front of the US Congress in the off-season, declares that it was an accident and he did not knowingly take steroids, alluding that he was slipped an oral steroid against his will. This falls apart when it is leaked that the steroid he tested positive for was stanozolol, which is unlikely to have been ingested orally as it is normally injected.
  • Shortly after signing an agreement with the NHL Players Association to return hockey to the ice, the NHL announces that Todd Bertuzzi has been reinstated. This results in a 17 month suspension, of which 15 months the NHL did not operate. This amounts to a 20 game suspension, including all regular season and playoff (one round) games missed. Within two hours of the NHL’s announcement, Hockey Canada announced Bertuzzi was being added to the Team Canada Olympic roster for the 2006 Winter Olympics.

You may think you know where I am going with this. Here comes the vent against the lack of role models in sports and their lax punishment. I would like to take a different road instead.

I don’t follow baseball that much. I don’t really care for it. But what surprised me about these two baseball stories was the media reaction. In the Kenny Rogers situation, they mostly mirrored fan opinion (maybe more vigorously since one of their own was attacked), objecting to the shortness of the original suspension and providing outrage when it was reduced. However, in the Palmeiro case, despite much cynicism over the rampant steroid use in baseball and fan outrage over the damage these players have done to the game, many commentators I heard stated they would be voting Palmeiro to the Hall of Fame, but not on the first ballot as punishment. This for someone whose numbers they admire so much are now for sure tainted as steroid aided. Here they have the power to reject a player who likely has cheated his whole career and they are going to provide the proverbial slap on the wrist by making him wait a second year of eligibility to get elected. None of this means it will happen; Rafael may never get in the Hall. Despite what happens, these comments lead me to believe that a lot less hero-worship and a lot more balanced reporting of the sport is needed in baseball reporting circles.

The Bertuzzi situation found just the opposite. Many media hacks, not entirely surprised by the reinstatement but shocked by Hockey Canada’s addition of Bertuzzi to the Olympic roster, have voiced concerns over the lack of punishment. However it appears 50% or more of the fans believe he has suffered enough (the 17 month theory) and needs to be back playing (go Canucks go). The fact is the $500,000 in salary, $350,000 in endorsements and the opportunity to play internationally (World Cup for one) or in Europe during the work stoppage is inconsequential. Had their been no labour stoppage Bertuzzi likely would have still missed the Canada Cup either due to the suspension being in effect or Hockey Canada not adding him at the last minute. Any salary, lost endorsements or potential wages are outside the punishment. The NHL should have looked at if the act was sufficiently paid for in games, which has been the measuring stick for all NHL suspensions in all previous cases. This type of treatment for a high profile, skilled player who has committed one of the most vicious attacks in recent memory shows a bias in the NHL for penalizing skilled players.

So the world of sports continues its downward spiral. Recently Terrell Owens has acted up in Philadelphia, fans are appalled but he will get his millions plus more. The money, egos and destructive behaviour will destroy sports for me as a pastime. It no longer is fun anymore to watch those who have so much complain when there are so many who have so little are never heard.

Well hopefully that was coherent. What is your opinion? Sound off here.

Comments are closed.

OC Jottings

No jottings in the last 7 days. Here is a random jotting.