Lance Armstrong, the Baseball Hall of Fame: I just don't get it
While I still haven't gone back to looking at the news, I do watch ESPN during my morning hour of exercise. Last week the reporting was dominated by major league baseball's not voting into the hall of fame some of history's greatest players joining Pete Rose as pariahs in the sport. I am a baseball fan. My trips to Cooperstown to the Hall of Fame are among my favorite memories. Sure Rose is a jerk, Barry Bonds is a jerk and Roger Clemens is a psycho jerk but what did that have to do with their accomplishments? The baseball writers will say that Bonds, Clemens and those in the doping era cheated and would not have obtained greatness otherwise. Yet the question is "if it was not illegal to dope and almost everyone was doing it, then why the indictment now"? I remember when a reporter was interviewing Mark McGuire and a bottle of androstenedione (Andro) was openly displayed on the shelf of his locker. When asked, McGuire said that he was not taking it to increase strength but it allowed him to recover more quickly from injury and for the first time in his career was able to play a full season. At the time, Andro was not a banned substance but McGuire is denied admission to the hall of fame because of it. Bonds has been linked to steroid use. Clemens has been indicted and subsequently acquitted. But the question remains: if at the time the use of steroids was not banned, then why deny admittance to the hall? As to Pete Rose, his sin was that he bet on baseball - although he contends that he did not bet on his own games. This does not affect the fact that he is baseball's hits leader. For the hits leader not to be in the hall is ludicrous. The same is true for stripping Lance Armstrong of his Tour de France titles. Cycling is a sport in which virtually everyone doped. In other sports, if the winner is disqualified then second place is given the prize - see Ben Johnson in the Olympics. Yet in cycling no one is declared the winner of Armstrong's Tour de France since they can't find anyone who is clean. So I ask the question again: if everyone is cheating, then is anyone cheating?
Harold A. Black is professor emeritus in the Department of Finance, University of Tennessee, Knoxville having retired after 24 years of service. He has served on the faculties of American University, Howard University, the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill and the University of Florida. His government service includes the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and as a Board Member of the National Credit Union Administration. He also has served on the boards of directors Home Savings of America and its parent company, H. F. Ahmanson & Co., Irwindale, California prior to its merger with Washington Mutual Savings Bank, on the board of New Century Financial Corporation, Irvine, California, then the nation’s largest real estate investment trust and as director and later chairman of the Nashville Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. He writes an occasional article for the Knoxville News-Sentinel at http://www.knoxnews.com/staff/dr-harold-black/. His web page is haroldablackphd.com