Greeting scandals with a shrug

February 9, 2009

phelpsWe have become numb to news that our heroes are not who we thought they were.

Word that New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez had taken steroids in 2003 made the headlines across the United States. It widened our eyes but did nothing to our hearts.

Perhaps we simply do not care like we used to.

Rumors swirled years ago that home run kings Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire had taken steroids and it angered us. Though neither has ever been proven to have taken performance-enhancing drugs, we were shocked, angered and bewildered at the suggestion.

Bonds, the all-time home run champ, cannot land a job though he still wants to play. McGwire retired from baseball and disappeared from public view.

In the past week, a picture surfaced of Olympic champion and American icon Michael Phelps with a marijuana pipe. It was disappointing to his fans but there was no outrage. The sponsors seemed to care more than the public. We, as fans, were let down. But we shrugged the news off, and his apology, and we went about our business.

Now, Rodriguez has admitted to ESPN that he took performance-enhancing drugs.

Rodriguez, baseball’s highest paid player and one year into a 10-year $275 million contract with the Yankees, said he had cheated during his three seasons with the Texas Rangers starting in 2001 but not since.

“When I arrived in Texas in 2001 I felt an enormous amount of pressure. I felt like I had all the weight of the world on top of me to perform and perform at a high level every day. Back then it was a different culture. It was very loose. I was young, I was stupid, I was naive. And I wanted to prove to everyone that I was worth being one of the greatest players of all time.”

Many believe the 33-year-old slugger will ultimately become the all-time home run champ, surpassing Bonds.

Though the public will hardly embrace Rodriguez, the venom felt for Bonds will largely be gone. We’re tired of talking about asterisks, HgH, and qualifications for the Hall of Fame.

We’re tired.

PHOTO: U.S. Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps pauses during an interview at Yingdong Swimming Pool in Beijing January 13, 2009. REUTERS/Jason Lee

* This post was updated at 2141 GMT on Monday, Feb 9.

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Who can you believe in these days? Will all our heroes eventually be tarnished? It’s now so hard to know what to think when you see a great performance from a great athlete. It’s a very sad situation.

Posted by laura | Report as abusive