Hank Aaron was recently at the US Open to receive the U.S. Tennis Association’s “Breaking the Barriers” award.
While there he was asked about Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, and the steroid era in baseball as a whole.
Aaron was able to sum up his thoughts in a single word:
“Saddened,” Aaron said. “I’m not a judge and I’m not a juror, and I don’t know who’s guilty and who’s what. I’m just saddened for baseball and saddened for Clemens and Bonds, both.”
Aaron said he hasn’t given any thought to whether Bonds’ or Clemens’ achievements should stand as they are or be accompanied with an asterisk.
"I have too much to worry about to worry about Clemens and Bonds," Aaron said.
Although Aaron probably has a lot to say on this issue, he chose the humble and admirable route of keeping quiet and taking the high road.
Aaron could have easily caused a media scene. He could have said he feels asterisks should be adjacent to the records. He could have said he should still be the "Home Run King."
Instead, he pushed the issue to the side and, in a sense, told the world he was ready to move on. He admitted he was saddened by what had happened to baseball over the past few years but was reluctant to go into detail.
Aaron realizes that the records are there and his opinion is not going to change them. No matter what Aaron says, baseball will do whatever baseball wants to do, so there is no point in talking about steroids all the time.
This is something admirable and something that needs to be copied by many others. Aaron made the right choice by avoiding the steroids topic as much as he could.
If baseball wants to move past this issue, it is going to need to copy this approach and avoid talking about steroids as much as possible.
Obviously, they cannot ignore a whole era of baseball and questions will continue to be brought up, but baseball should avoid it as much as possible. If someone is caught using them, then talk about it. When Clemens is in court, talk about it. Otherwise, focus the attention on the playoff races and the rest of the 2010 season.
The whole steroid conversation has begun to feel like Brett Favre in that it is something that never seems to go away.
Thankfully at least one person, Hank Aaron, seems to be just as tired of steroids and wants baseball to move forward.