And the truth shall set you free...but only tell it when your back is against the wall.
It is fascinating how baseball players each talk about how hard it was to hold in their secret of taking banned substances, and that telling the public was something they had to do—as if uttering the truth was some kind of courageous act after lying and cheating for years.
The only reason any of them have told the public they were using banned substances was because they had no other choice. Either their names were on a list, they were in front of a grand jury, or in the case of Mark McGwire, they were going to be asked every single day, thanks to a new job back in baseball.
It's public relations 101: deny or stay silent until you absolutely have to speak.
I love the statements commentators and sports personalities make following a confession, such as, "say what you want about (insert steroid user's name), but at least he came out and said what he did."
It's comparing liars to liars.
What is missing at the end of their statement is "when he had no other choice."
Jose Canseco told us of his substance use via his autobiography Juiced , which would allow him to swim in money.
Jason Giambi was nice enough to tell us he used a banned substance when he was in front of a grand jury in 2003.
Andy Pettitte was gracious enough to inform us of his banned substance use in 2007 after being included in the Mitchell Report.
Alex Rodriguez touched our hearts in 2009 by telling us of his banned substance use only after Sports Illustrated 's Selena Roberts and David Epstein reported that Rodriguez had tested positive for Primobolan (an anabolic steroid) and testosterone in MLB's anonymous 2003 "survey" testing.
And now we have Mark McGwire delivering us a teary-eyed confession to melt our hearts after going 0-for-4 for the Hall of Fame voting and realizing, as a MLB hitting coach, he would be asked every single day of the season about steroids.
Would McGwire confess, had he made the Hall of Fame or not been given the Cardinals' hitting coach job?
There is, however, the factor of timing and just plain bad luck for certain players.
Players such as Rodriguez or Manny Ramirez will kindly take their 50-game suspension while dancing around the timeframe of their substance use for the sake of Hall of Fame votes, as opposed to appearing in a court of law and having to decide between the Hall of Fame or jail time.
Who knows how Rodriguez or Ramirez would have fared, had they been selected to go before Congress.
Current players like David Ortiz can continue to deny steroid use, based on the fact they will not go to jail for lying to reporters, nor can it hurt their Hall of Fame chances. There is no threat in the lie except having to deal with repetitive questions.
Had Ortiz been playing in the late '90s, there is a good chance he would have been sitting in front of Congress, in which case the repercussions of his lie, one would think, would have been far worse.
The one thing you could say for McGwire is that he technically did not lie in a court of law, which apparently is just a slap on the wrist these days—seeing as Rafael Palmeiro, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, and Sammy Sosa are not in prison, free to order specially-made hats to fit their ginormous heads, pop their back acne, and dye their skin white while campaigning for a baseball resting place in Cooperstown.
The impressive aspect of all of this is not the players who actually come forward and confess, but rather those who feel no fear lying in a court of law—those players who feel so above the system that they can get away with perjury.
It is utterly mind-boggling.
There is no glory in what these players are doing, considering their confessions are only coming upon a forced hand, after they watched years of investigations happening, hoping the rules once again would not apply to them.
The big names will hold out in desperation for the Hall of Fame until someone arrives at their door with handcuffs. Only then will the public get their "heartfelt" confessions.
The public doesn't really need or deserve their confessions or apologies considering we were the ones filling the seats and cheering on their long fly balls.
Justice, however, does.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!