The Reuters global sports blog
America knows how to ‘do hype’ and the Stateside public lap up a good scandal but when it comes to cheating by use of performance enhancing drugs, the appetite for mass media coverage seems to vanish.
At the end of 2009, there wasn’t a website or newspaper in the States, whether celebrity gossip, high-brow politics or sports-obsessed that wasn’t delivering real-time updates on the infidelities of a golfer. America couldn’t get enough of the Tiger Woods story which, in the end, consisted of little more significant than a sorry list of rather mundane affairs.
When it comes to drug use, however, the response is far more restrained. Just a day after Mark McGwire, after years of avoiding questions, finally confessed to using steroids, including during 1998 when he broke the single season home-run record, already America was ‘moving on’.
The tone was set by Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig who within hours of McGwire’s ‘confession’ interview was welcoming the news. “I am pleased Mark McGwire has confronted his use of performance enhancing substances as a player … this statement of contrition I believe will make Mark’s re-entry to the game much smoother and easier,” he said.
In a statement sent to various news outlets on Monday Mark McGwire finally admitted what many had already suspected.
“I used steroids during my playing career and I apologize,” McGwire said in the release. “I wish I had never touched steroids. It was foolish and it was a mistake. I truly apologize. Looking back, I wish I had never played during the steroid era.”
Twenty years ago this week, Pete Rose received the harshest of all of baseball’s penalties: a lifetime ban for betting on games while managing the Cincinnati Reds, the team that brought him fame as a player and infamy as a manager.
Today’s report by the New York Times revealed David Ortiz to be the latest in an ever-growing list of Major League Baseball players guilty of using illegal performance enhancing drugs (PEDs). Ortiz’s name is now included on what has become an overhyped and mysterious list of names that tested positive back in 2003, before mandatory testing was put into place.
It was confirmed that Ortiz’s 2003 Boston Red Sox teammate Manny Ramirez is also present on the list, confirming lingering suspicion surrounding him ever since Ramirez was suspended 50 games this season for using an estrogen-based drug that acts as a masking agent for PEDs.