On January 9th, the National Baseball Hall of Fame announced that no former baseball player earned a place in the National Baseball League’s Hall of Fame this year. In the days following, plenty of people had something to say, including NPR’s Scott Simon whose piece, Cheating Might Buy Home Runs, But No Hall Of Fame, echoed public voices. Simon noted that three players up for this year’s voting – Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa, were all standouts during their playing years, “But those glorious stats were amassed under suspicion of what’s now known as the “Steroid Era” in baseball and possibly all sports,” said Simon.
The verdict is still out on Notre Dame Linebacker, Manti Te’o who conjured up a girlfriend that was the love of his life, died and then never existed. Publicly, people are angry, but no one is quite sure what to be angry about. He says he was played, but according to the Associated Press, a “review of news coverage found that Te’o talked about his doomed love in a Web interview on Dec. 8 and again in a newspaper interview published Dec. 10. He and the university said he learned on Dec. 6 that it was all a hoax — not only was she not dead, she wasn’t real.”
Lastly, Lance Armstrong. A man who believed nothing was more important than winning. I didn’t watch the Oprah interview. I refused to waste one minute of my time listening to a thief and a liar. Worst than the lying, Armstrong stole the real winner’s honor. Seven times, seven men had earned first place through hard work, sacrifice and extreme commitment. Those men will never be honored for their right to claim first place as it should have been – with fanfare and the admiration of their countrymen and women.
Why does any of this matter? I think Simon said it best:
“But even if a lot of great players — Ruth, Mantle, Paige, Wade Boggs and scores of other Hall of Famers — ran wild in their private lives, when they put on their uniforms they respected the game in simple ways that gave it integrity. They ran out pop flies. They played through injuries. They sacrificed their batting average to advance runners.”
It may be just a coincidence, but none of these sports allow women to participate, not as a player/cyclist and none as referees, although a few have earned spots as refs in minor league baseball.
A culture of exclusion perpetuates untouchability, and gives practitioners a false sense of unlimited and unquestioned power. Making women the untouchables in the 21st Century will continue to produce liars and cheats (see politics). You have been warned.