By Ken Reed

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred handed the Houston Astros severe penalties for cheating on Monday. Manfred suspended Astros GM Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch for a year for their role in using electronic equipment to steal the signs of opponents. He also fined the organization $5 million and stripped the Astros of their first and second round draft picks in both 2020 and 2021.

Following the announcement of the penalties, Astros owner JIm Crane then fired Luhnow and Hinch.

I didn’t expect that the penalties for the Astros actions would be that severe, but I’m certainly good with them. As a society, we have to have ethics and integrity in sports or their value is greatly diminished.

Manfred made a big statement yesterday about the importance of the integrity of the game. And he showed a lot of courage in doing so. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell could learn a thing or two from Manfred. Unlike Manfred, Goodell simply gave the New England Patriots a slap on the wrist for their cheating escapades.

The actions taken by Manfred will send a positive message throughout the baseball world, from the professional level down to the little leagues.

I like it. It’s good for the game. And a good statement to young players.

Vince Lombardi reportedly once said that “winning isn’t everything. It’s the only thing.” That’s the etho that those involved with the Astros cheating scandal apparently live by.

That’s a sad approach to sports. A “win-at-all-costs” (WAAC) mentality is an ego-based approach to sports and represents sport at its worst. On the other hand, a soul-based approach to sports is driven by the ethos of fair play and sportsmanship. That’s sport at its best.

There’s no place for WAAC competitors in sports — at any level. Hopefully, the penalties Manfred gave the Astros will reinforce that.

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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