My opinion about PEDs has changed over the last five years or so. Some of that has been because I learned more about the PEDs, and in large part it is because I saw the way the athletes accused and convicted of PEDs use reacted. Badly, of course. The trials and investigations and testimony all helped show that the players knew where the guilt was, even when naifs like me were defending them.
So, we had our villain. Finally.
Of course, when I put it that way I start to get all wishy washy again. This really isn’t a story of villains and, presumably, heroes, but rather a story of lots of similar but not identical people undergoing pressures that are similar but not identical. Talk about the despicable union protecting the drug takers ignores the many actions over the years by the owners to control the players and limit their compensation. In this context the slow to emerge drug rules reflect ownership’s desire to get an upper hand on the players, and the players (union) protecting their privacy and civil rights.
In any case, I don’t think McGwire is the hard Hall of Fame case. Even with his spectacular power accomplishments, he’s not a clear cut Hall of Famer. Discount him for PED usage and it’s easy to keep him off any HOF list. Bonds and Clemens are the real deal, on the other hand, Hall of Famers before they took the drugs. The big question is whether their induction will open the door to the boderline cases like McGwire.