By Ken Reed
Ever since the possibility of PED-enhanced baseball players being enshrined into the Hall of Fame came up, I have been strongly against it.
Basically, I believe the essence of sport is fair competition, a level playing field, if you will. Major League Baseball players who took PEDs scoffed at that ideal. They graduated from the win-at-all-costs (WAAC) school. They aren’t about fair competition, they’re about getting an edge anyway they can. They are me-me-me people, primarily concerned about enhancing their fame and fattening their pocketbook.
But here’s the overarching problem: By all accounts, there weren’t just a handful of stars using PEDs during baseball’s steroid era. Some people believe as many as 25%-50% of all players were on some type of juice. So, then the question becomes, how do you weed out the honest ones?
Odds are great we’ve already enshrined several players into Cooperstown who took PEDs at some point in their careers, including possibly David Ortiz, the latest player voted into the Hall of Fame.
Something has to be done. If not, the PED debate will go on for at least another decade as proven PED players like Alex Rodriguez and Manny Ramirez have many years left on the Hall of Fame ballot. For years now, the PED debate has sadly overshadowed discussions about the great on-field accomplishments of everyone on the ballot — clean and dirty players alike.
To be honest, it’s very hard for me to stomach honoring guys (e.g., Barry Bonds, Roger Clemons, A-Rod, Mark McGwire, Ramirez, etc) that clearly tried to cheat the game and their fellow competitors. But there are so many top players from that era (including Ortiz) who we are not sure were clean during their playing days.
As such, my solution — at least at this point in time — is that the Hall of Fame needs to create an entirely separate wing for the PED era (not sure exactly what years that would entail but it shouldn’t be that hard to figure out given what we know today). Yes, create a separate wing with a big display at the front of the wing explaining the PED era … for example, the fact PED use was prevalent during this period; that we can’t be sure who used and who didn’t; that it’s highly likely some of the Hall of Famers in this wing are tainted due to PED use, etc.
Then, once the PED wing is created, let’s go ahead and induct all the guys who would clearly be in the Hall if it weren’t for the PED cloud hanging over their heads (including Bonds, Clemons and McGwire). Put them in the Hall’s PED wing.
And then let’s finally move on …
Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #21 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Chatting About a Broken Game With Baseball Writer Pedro Moura – Moura is a national baseball writer for Fox Sports. He previously covered the Los Angeles Dodgers for The Athletic. His new book is titled “How to Beat a Broken Game: The Rise of the Dodgers in a League on the Brink.” We discuss how and why the game of baseball is broken, what factors caused it, and offer a few thoughts on how to “fix” a great game.
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Episode #20 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Coaching Youth and High School Sports Based On What’s Best for the Athlete’s Holistic Development – We chat with long-time youth, high school and college basketball coach Jim Huber.
Episode #19 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Capturing the Spirit of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League with Anika Orrock – We discuss the hoops AAGPFL women had to jump through to play the game they loved as well as the long-term impact and legacy they have in advancing sports opportunities for girls and women.
Episode #18 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking about the 50th Anniversary of Title IX and the Lia Thomas Controversy with Nancy Hogshead-Makar – Hogshead-Makar is a triple gold medalist in swimming, a civil rights attorney and CEO of Champion Women.
Episode #17 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports With Legendary New York Times Sports Columnist Robert Lipsyte – We chat about Lipsyte’s amazing career and some of the athletes he covered.
Episode #16 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Andrew Maraniss: Outstanding Author of Books That Focus On the Intersection of Sports, History and Social Justice.
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
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