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 #27 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Kids’ Sports: How We Can Take Back the Game and Restore Quality Family Time In the Process – Linda Flanagan is author of “Take Back the Game: How Money and Mania Are Ruining Kids’ Sports and Why It Matters.” We discuss how commercialized and professionalized youth sports are hurting kids and their families. Linda writes extensively about how youth sports can hijack families, and family outings, non-sports activities and bonding time are lost in the pursuit of the next club team game or travel tournament.
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Episode #26 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Fix Youth Sports? – John O’Sullivan is Founder and CEO of Changing the Game Project and author of “Changing the Game: The Parents Guide to Raising Happy, High Performing Athletes and Giving Youth Sports Back to Our Kids.”
Episode #25 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Physical Education Should Be a Critical Component of K-12 School Design – Michael Horn is co-founder of the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation.
Episode #24 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Mental Health and Athletes: Ending the Stigma – Nathan Braaten and Taylor Ricci are the founders of Dam Worth It, a non-profit created to end the stigma around mental health at colleges and universities through sport, storytelling, and community creation.
Episode #23 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Olympian Benita Fitzgerald Mosley Talks Title IX, Youth Sports and the Olympics.
Episode #22 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Rethinking Sports Fandom with Author Craig Calcaterra – We discuss Calcaterra’s new book “Rethinking Fandom: How to Beat the Sports-Industrial Complex at Its Own Game” and explore new ways to be a fan.
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.
- League of Fans Sports Policy Director Ken Reed quoted in Washington Post column titled "What happened to P.E.? It’s losing ground in our push for academic improvement," by Jay Mathews
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.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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