The Vindication Of Jose Canseco
Jose Canseco isn't the most empathetic figure in the world. He's an admitted drug user, a wife beater, a guy who had all of the talent in the world and threw it all away because he just couldn't keep himself together.
Canseco was a pariah in the sports world, a man who was willing to do anything for a buck—from reality TV appearances to writing a tell-all book that many sports fans believed to be full of lies and distortions.
The only problem was, Canseco was telling the truth.
Of course, Jose didn't have the best track record in the world, so fans felt his book Juiced was pure sensationalism at best, and that it was full of lies in an attempt to destroy the careers of men who didn't throw away their talent like he did.
Who would trust a steroid case and domestic abuser who nobody doubts is sleazy when he claimed Jason Giambi and Rafael Palmiero were fellow steroid users?
Nobody believed Jose in part because nobody wanted to believe what he was saying. Most sports fans felt that Jose Canseco was trying to drag the good name of other players through the mud for a quick buck, and others felt even if these players were guilty, you don't rat out your fellow players.
When Canseco wrote a second book, a noted sportswriter from Sports Illustrated refused to edit the manuscript and didn't want his name associated with the book feeling that it wasn't accurate.
This was the unpublished book that accused Alex Rodriguez of steroid use.
In the end as untrustworthy as Canseco might have seemed, he was one thing that the Palmero's and A-Rod's of the world were not—honest. Jose Canseco career was marked by steroid use, arrests and an unsavory personal life, but was more honest than some of baseball's biggest golden boys, yet we didn't want to believe the truth.
Today's sports landscape is ruled by the Andre Agassi principle, "Image is everything." Canseco's image was that of trash, while the A-Rod was baseball's well-spoken, clean-cut golden boy. Who were we as sports fans supposed to believe?
The answer is simple in retrospect, no matter how much we deny it—Jose Canseco was telling the truth.
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