By Tom Semioli
The 43rd President of the United States allegedly lied about weapons of mass destruction. His successor leads this country as if those alleged lies were truth.
The 46th Vice President of the United States allegedly lied about weapons of mass destruction. His successor supports those alleged lies with his silence. The 66th Secretary of State allegedly lied about weapons of mass destruction. And a New York Times reporter absolutely wrote a fabricated front page story about the existence of weapons of mass destruction, prompting our nation to engage in military action. The United States may never be the same, let alone survive the 21st Century. These people walk free in our society, nor are they required to testify as to what they knew and when they knew it. If they did, I might be able to remove the “alleged” adjectives. Or you could read the Downing Street Memos.
At what cost? Last time I checked the Iraq War scoreboard; over $1 trillion US taxpayer dollars spent, 4,487 US heroic service men and women gone, 32,322 courageous US servicemen and women wounded, civilian casualties conservatively estimated at well over 100,000, and more than 2.5 million civilians displaced. These numbers do not reflect the continuing “collateral damage” of tragic military and civilian suicides, needless deaths due to destroyed infrastructure and access to medical care, trade sanctions, and the unspeakable consequences of family upheaval, and resultant alcohol and drug addiction.
An entertainer, commonly referred to as a “major league baseball pitcher,” who threw baseballs for the Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays, New York Yankees, and the Houston Astros to amuse American sports fans may or may not have taken performance enhancing drugs in order afford him the strength to throw the ball even faster, hence amusing us even more. Many of this entertainer’s peers on the baseball diamond engaged in similar behavior during this time – the 1990s.
In that decade, I downgraded from a fanatic to a casual baseball observer due to a busy time in my career. Occasionally I would catch a game on a small monitor TV in a local bar -this was in the days before the now ubiquitous flat screen. It was undeniably obvious from the corner of my eye that the players on television were juiced – just like the artificially bloated, vein popping members of my gym club, just like some of my clients who were bursting out of their clothing, just like the larger than normal folks you’d see in every day life on the street, at the beach, in a bar – anywhere and everywhere. It was the age of steroids. What was the big secret?
The slogan of the time was “chicks dig the long ball.” The owners profited greatly from the chemically enhanced scoring after the financial debacle that was the baseball strike. Scores of notable members of the sports media allegedly lied too. Many hold steadfast to this day that they didn’t know the players were juiced – regardless of the overwhelming evidence.
The didn’t know – despite the fact that these “reporters” hung out with the players in the locker rooms, in clubs, on planes, trains, buses and automobiles. Shortstops hitting 50 homers! Players in their late 30s jettisoning baseballs out of massive stadiums! Could training techniques have advanced the physical talents of these players to such ridiculous heights? The answer is no. Watch clips of old school sluggers such as Reggie Jackson, Henry Aaron, and Ritchie Allen – they could be mistaken for high-school athletes when compared to modern day players. No amount of training could distort the human body to such exaggerated proportions.
When reporters don’t report the truth, the public goes uninformed. How many lives of young adults – high-school and college players – were destroyed because they took steroids akin to their baseball heroes because they didn’t know better? Why aren’t these reporters on trial? Why aren’t they held responsible? What did they know and when did they know it?
The juice is still flowing, my fellow Americans. And those baseball fanatics who revile such “convicted” ballplayers as Rafael Palmero, Barry Bonds and Mark McGuire should wear a white, cone shaped hat so the rest of us can avoid them. How did you not know?
Aside from the athletes who harmed themselves, no one died because baseball players took steroids and allegedly lied about it. Nor was a nation plunged into war, debt, and self-doubt. Our brave soldiers, and the civilians they protect each and every day, were not put in harm’s way.
So Roger Clemens may or may not be convicted and serve time for allegedly lying to a bunch of elected officials who are not particularly inclined to tell the truth either – the United States Congress. Whatever a jury decides, Clemens could have saved himself – if only he had allegedly lied about weapons of mass destruction instead.
Get more great sports analysis over at Sports Fan Manifesto.