Because life is a series of edits

My Counsel for Mark McGwire

In Places & Spaces, Sports on January 11, 2010 at 4:06 pm

I suppose you can call it "news" if you want, but is it really any surprise to hear from Mark McGwire himself that the former Cardinals first baseman/Major League Baseball single season home run king used steroids? Let's be honest: this doesn't exactly rank up there with "man bites dog."

Some of my students have asked, from an ethical perspective, what should happen to McGwire? Should he still be included on the home run list(s)? Should he still be considered for the Hall of Fame (he's been on the ballot for the past four years)? Should he still be the batting coach for the Cardinals this year?

Here's what I think: If McGwire really wants to do what is right and honorable, he will HIMSELF 1) request to be removed from the home run list(s); 2) request to be excluded permanently from Hall of Fame consideration; and 3) vow to do his very best to ensure that none of the Cardinals he coaches this year are juicing. Only then will he have any credibility in baseball, as well as any hope of leaving a legacy redeemed from his past.

Maybe – just maybe – others might follow McGwire's lead, with baseball being the better for it. I'm not naive and doubt many (if any) would, but I would sure think a whole lot more of McGwire as a person and, yes, even as a baseball player who played hard, made some mistakes, but had the character – finally – to deal with them honestly.

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