Mark McGwire and the Authoritarian Reflex

By now you might have heard that baseball home run record-breaker and unrepentant ginger Mark McGwire, after nearly five years of awkward silence, has kicked off an Ari Fleischer-orchestrated (really!) apology tour in which he admitted that yes indeedy, he really did gobble various illegal-to-use-without-a-prescription substances in the 1990s to help recover from injuries and build trapezius muscle. If you are not appropriately outraged enough that the man refused to incriminate himself on the same issue when hauled in front of Congress in 2005, then you can thank a merciful Dieu that Brian Williams is there for you, night after nightly night:

More Christian (if less spell-checked) pronouncements of forgiveness were forthcoming from Sen. Claire McCaskill, Missouri Rep. Lacy Clay, and the marvelously named St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay. Meanwhile, insane ex-basketball coach Bobby Knight stakes out the extreme libertarian position:

"I have a different approach to performance-enhancing drugs than a lot of people do," Knight said. "My question is: Who decides what can be used and what can't be used?" [...]

"Gatorade is a performance-enhancing substance. It replaces electrolytes in the human body that are used up during extreme exercise, so I've always had a real skeptical approach to all of this performance-enhancing stuff."

Leaving aside that and other thorny ethical/medical/baseballical issues, I continue to be struck by the sentencing disparity in the court of public opinion over this stuff. Alex Rodriguez, who might end up breaking the all-time home run record, lied his face off about using steroids, performed an about-face when caught on it, and within a few months when he was helping lead the Yankees to another World Championship it wasn't really coming up all that much. I doubt it will hinder his Hall of Fame election in the least. Call me a closet Bobby Knight, but I can't shake the suspicion that there is some outrage-premium applied not to jackass ballplayers who lie to the public, but to jackass ballplayers who, when called to make the perp walk on C-SPAN in front of the people who make the laws they might have broken, understandably (if embarrassingly) clam up.

Several links here taken from Baseball Primer. Reason on McGwire here.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • NeonCat||

    Part of the punishment problem is being first. Consider Gary Hart and Bill Clinton, for instance, or pols who admitted to smoking pot in the late 80s with, say, Bill Clinton.

    Sometimes being first is not a good thing.

  • ||

    Ken Caminiti disagrees with you.

  • Old Mexican||

    "I have a different approach to performance-enhancing drugs than a lot of people do," [coach Bobby]Knight said. "My question is: Who decides what can be used and what can't be used?" [...]



    The tax consumers decide, of course - they know better than us, the tax producers.
  • Attorney||

    They haul athletes in like that just to show that they can.

  • EJ||

    its almost like the pols, the nerdy kids in high school, do it for revenge against the jocks

  • Russ 2000||

    Turn on any sports radio station and you have proof of it right there.

  • ||

    I can't shake the suspicion that there is some outrage-premium applied not to jackass ballplayers who lie to the public, but to jackass ballplayers who,

    Are no longer in a position to help their team win the World Series.

  • Deaddy Kennedy||

    Boom! Rasmussen Says Coakley by 2.

    According to Dave Weigel, Rasmussen's next poll in Massachusetts has Coakley by two percentage points. Their last one had her ahead by nine.

    http://washingtonindependent.c.....sachusetts

  • ||

    The real outrage is that Bobby Knight is getting paid for the shit that comes out his upper asshole, as opposed to checking in with his parole officer as a convicted felon.

  • Boston Cop||

    Some are pushing to take his name down from the highway.

    Fucking people kill me.

  • ||

    I forgive him. Can he send me some money now that we're buddies? I figure $3 million should set me up real good. We can go fishing on the boat I'll buy when he's in town.

  • .||

    The culpable hate to be taken for suckers, so they become indignant and demand abasement from the hero-turned-malefactor. Upon his penance he regains our favor. We hate the juice, not the juicer. Praise Jesus!

  • Russ 2000||

    In baseball, statistics are sacrosanct. ARod didn't break any records, so he hasn't shit all over any moron's beloved records.

    (The record holder is not the moron, the moron is he who fetishizes the record. We know baseball is filled with these types because Roger Maris got an asterisk because MLB required his team to play 8 more games than Babe Ruth's team and baseball can't have their mythical figures knocked down a peg.)

    Plus McGwire has red hair so he's a freak anyway.

  • Not To Be A Dick, But||

    A-Rod has a couple of records (Highest Career Salary, Purplest Lips) and the career HR mark is still a remote possibility for him.

  • Rich||

    Perhaps this'll inspire some other people to stop lying to congress and to their fans.

    But, there I go again ...

  • Mark McGwire||

    They're still talking about the home runs I hit in T-Ball. They're still talking about the home runs I hit in the womb. They're still talking about the home runs I hit as a sperm.

  • Old Mexican||

    First they came for the baseball players . . .

  • ||

    Free Mark, Free Roger, Free Manny, Free Barry.

  • Zevon||

    Free Barry right now and he's liable to destroy Tokyo.

  • Syd Henderson||

    While everyone is coming clean, I must confess that I have posted on Hit & Run under the influence of steroids. They were prescribed by doctors for injuries and to build digital and wrist muscles, and everyone else was doing them. I know that you will take this into account when you consider my word count when it comes time to vote for the Reason Hall of Fame.

  • Syd Henderson||

    While everyone is coming clean, I must confess that I have posted on Hit & Run under the influence of steroids. They were prescribed by doctors for injuries and to build digital and wrist muscles, and everyone else was doing them. I know that you will take this into account when you consider my word count when it comes time to vote for the Reason Hall of Fame.

  • Joe_D||

    Who cares?

  • Slut Bunwalla||

    I was just about to post that. Although I was going to put a "the fuck" in the middle.

  • ||

    People who click through to comment on the story?

  • ||

    I don't have a problem with professional sports banning use of specific drugs if they have harmful side effects. Otherwise, athletes will be under pressure to take them to compete, and suffer the attendnt effects.

    But there are many "performance enhancing" substances that don't have dangerous side effects, and those should be allowed. As he said, gatorade could be considered performance enhancing.

    Of course, there shouldn't be any criminal penalties associated with it. But magor league sports are private entities and they can ban steroids if they feel like it. Personally I am happy they do.

  • ||

    I think I'd refuse to incriminate myself before Congress too, even if I wasn't guilty.

  • ||

    I'd like someone to ask Waxman and Davis and the rest of 'em why McGwire's request for immunity was denied. Did they honestly plan on prosecuting him for use and possession of steroids? If the hearing was about "uncovering the truth", as they claimed, why exactly did they deny McGwire immunity when they knew perfectly well that it would lead to his desire not to talk about the past?

    My guess is that they didn't want to appear "soft on"....baseball cheaters. Heaven forbid.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
  • And much more.

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement