End the Witch Hunt: Leave the Other 103 Alone

Andrew Kaufman@akaufman23Senior Analyst IFebruary 9, 2009

The person who leaked Alex Rodriguez’ positive test broke the law.

Let me repeat that: The person who leaked Alex Rodriguez’ positive test broke the law.

In the rush to indict Alex Rodriguez for his failed 2003 drug test (and—let me make this very clear—I fully do not support steroid use in any way, shape, or form), everyone seems to have forgotten that the Yankees’ third baseman was entitled, both legally and ethically, to the privacy he was guaranteed when he took the test.

So is every other Major League Baseball player.

Yet while baseball fans everywhere seek to impose their morals on players like Rodriguez, claiming they have been lied to and cheated, we forget that Rodriguez was lied to, too.

When Rodriguez and the Players’ Association agreed to be drug tested, they were promised—in writing—the results would not be leaked.

Six years later, the results were leaked. A-Rod was lied to; A-Rod was cheated.

And now we are asked to speculate about the identities of the other 103—those players who are entitled to the very privacy they were promised by Major League Baseball.

I understand and respect the desire to seek the truth.

I understand the desire to seek out those who cheated, to seek out those who broke the law, and to hold them accountable for their actions. I don’t care if Major League Baseball didn’t have a drug testing policy in place, either—I still think the actions of those who took steroids were despicable and indefensible.

But the witch hunt needs to stop.
In an ESPN.com article Monday, Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling suggested that the names of all 104 Major League Baseball players who tested positive for steroids should be revealed. Illegally.

"In my opinion, if you don't do that, then the other 600-700 players are going to be guilty by association, forever," he said.

Why? Why will the other 600-700 players be forever guilty by association? Isn’t there something we can do to prevent this rampant, indiscriminate speculation?

Of course there is. We can stop speculating rampantly and indiscriminately.

It’s not the steroid users who are fueling this media frenzy in which players are seemingly guilty of cheating until proven innocent even though only one in seven or eight actually tested positive back in 2003. For the most part, it’s not their fellow players, or even managers, teams, or the league itself.

It’s us.

We are the ones who talk steroids every day. We are the ones who actively seek to tarnish out heroes’ reputations, accusing them of cheating because they dared to gain 15 pounds or follow a bad season with a good one.

When I say "we," I’m referring to all fans and members of the media. But our beloved Bleacher Report is certainly no exception.

On Monday, members of Bleacher Report’s MLB community—of which there are 5,738 members—received an email encouraging them to speculate on the identities of the “other 103,” as they are now known.

While I mistakenly—since now I can’t quote it directly—deleted the email out of anger, it essentially stated that any form of evidence was an acceptable prerequisite for such speculation.

Is this really what we should be doing? Listing whomever we suspect might have taken steroids despite not really having any evidence? If we care so much about salvaging the reputations of all those who did not take steroids, shouldn’t we refrain from accusing random players of cheating?

Is revealing the names of 103 players who were guaranteed that their positive test results would be kept private really the more ethical solution?

No, but it sure is the more exciting one. And that’s what’s keeping the steroid
scandal going.


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