Injustice comes in many forms. It can be written in bold or small type. In bold, dark letters the headline reads “Washington admits using drugs as player.”
The first paragraph of the story says, “A day after acknowledging he failed a drug test for cocaine last year, Texas manager Ron Washington admits he used marijuana and amphetamines while he was a player.”
The Rangers say Washington will keep his job as manager and MLB has said nothing regarding any punishment.
On the next page under “Transactions” in small print, the story says, “MLB: Suspended Chicago Cubs minor league OF Gregorio Robles (Dominican Summer League) 100 games and Cleveland minor league pitcher Jeffry Cieto (Dominican Summer League) 50 games after testing positive for performance-enhancing substances.”
The rule of men must always be subservient to the rule of law. Not here.
Washington joins Mark McGwire, the steroid user who is now back as the Cardinal hitting coach, as two this year who had the right names, were in the right positions, and said the public “sorry” loud enough for MLB to turn its head.
Forgiveness is not the issue. Forgive them both, let them keep their jobs, but both should be treated as were the players from the Dominican and so many more like them.
The initial 50-game suspension under MLB rules applied to other drug users should apply to both McGwire and Washington.
This is the league that moans it bears a greater weight regarding drug use than other sports. MLB believes it is held to a higher standard, but keeps saying it will eradicate drug use from the game for the good of the game in any event.
Apparently there is a caveat to that intent. Somewhere the small print reads that punishment may be waived if you are fortunate enough to carry a name or hold a position that garners enough public sympathy or ownership support to move the powers that be to inaction.
Part of any punishment process is punishment, but equally important is the deterrent effect. We all understand that rules exit because without them there are many who would not do the right thing simply because it is right.
No difference here, but what are the hundreds who have been suspended under MLB rules supposed to make of McGwire and Washington?
They know exactly what to make of it.
The players from dirt-poor backgrounds who see baseball as the only way to a better life continue to take the risks associated with the use of performance enhancing drugs.
They obviously believe, rightly or wrongly, that the drugs will make them better. When caught, they are punished no matter the plea of necessity or personal and family needs.
The Roman philosopher Seneca said, “A kingdom founded on injustice never lasts.”
Neither will a game existing on that same foundation.