Friday, December 14, 2007

For the children: The Mitchell Report

I'm for freedom. I actually think it is a good idea. I'm not using the word as some code-word for military aggression and terrorist fear-mongering.

I think we should let the athletes do what they want. The government should not be involved. If baseball wants to regulate itself, it will. Let the truth be revealed.

I've heard many express concern about the children. What are they going to learn from all this if we let people cheat at professional sports? They will learn that people cheat and cheaters win.

What kind of role model does a professional athlete make if they cheat to become champions? The same kind they do now--lousy ones. Professional athletes are self-indulgent and self-impressed entertainers, mostly television entertainers. Sporting events are the original reality TV.

There are some very fine people who work as professional athletes. They make wonderful role models. We know who they are, but they aren't always the ones that win. We want the best to also be the hardest working, most pious, most disciplined of the bunch. We think that there's something about winning that proves character, that the top prize always goes to the best person.

No, it doesn't. Can you say Barry Bonds? The kids can handle that information and it will help them to understand that it is *not* whether you win or lose, it really *is* how you play the game, if we DON'T protect them from the hard truth that success does not breed character. Cheaters win. Cheaters break records. They aren't the only ones who do, but they do.

We honor people for who they are, not what they've done. That's the lesson you want the children to get.

There is nothing stopping baseball from eliminating performance-enhancing drugs from the game, but it will cost them more than they are willing to pay in money and in fans. They will have to care less about winning.

But leave the government out of it.

So get the government out of it. It's nice the George Mitchell did what he did, but it should have been paid for by the private concerns with an interest in proving the facts, not by the government.

The kids need to know how life really is, how people really act. They can handle the truth, don't pretend that professional sports is somehow immune from human frailty.

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