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Merriman v. McGwire v. Giambi
Posted by Bret Cohen at 1/10/2007 12:02:00 AM
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If Shawne Merriman continues on his current career pattern (and of course that's a huge 'if'), his numbers would easily qualify him for the Hall of Fame. Perhaps, if the aforementioned were to happen, it might spark some emotion given his steroid suspension this year. However, he's won accolades this current season (named to the Pro Bowl, AP's All-Pro team) despite the fact that he was proven to be on performance-enhancing drugs and received a four-game suspension. Though admittedly the Hall of Fame is more heavily debated, if people don't care about Merriman's indiscretion this year, why would they care 15 years down the road when voting for induction?

Mark McGwire, on the other hand, was never proven to have taken steroids, yet he is being crucified by the media based on speculation and hearsay (although I believe, like most people, his "I'm not here to talk about the past" was as scathing an indictment as an actual admission). This proof isn't an iota as solid as that against Merriman (not counting the un-prohibited andro discovered on McGwire's locker), and isn't close to the leaked grand jury testimony against Jason Giambi or Barry Bonds.

A few questions: are steroids more acceptable in football? Is the home run such a sacred institution in American sport that its defilement evokes greater emotion than any result of Merriman's cheating? In terms of McGwire v. Giambi, is Giambi let off the hook a little because he apologized, despite more solid proof, whereas McGwire appeared deceptive and devious in refusing to testify? If Giambi were to break the single season HR record, would he receive the same scrutiny as McGwire when up for the Hall or would he get a pass?


People (fans, media) don't care about steroids in football because steroids don't threaten the history of the game they way do in the baseball. Simple as that. No one cares that Ryan Franklin did steroids because Franklin is never going to have his name etched in the history books anyway. It becomes a problem when a Barry Bonds might have done steroids because he is all over the record books -- it calls into question the legitmacy of the records. Football is such a team game it doesn't matter if Merriman is on steroids because he can't accomplish much of anything on his own anyway.
Posted by Jason Thornbury at 1/10/2007 12:32:00 AM
So baseball isn't a team game? What if Merriman does go on to break or threaten a few records? Does it matter then? Is it different because football is more of a physical sport? Is it because the records are more cherished in baseball?
Posted by schwang2u at 1/10/2007 1:07:00 AM
It's because writers can foolishly "project" what players will do off and on steriods! That's why McGwire isn't HOF worthy but Bonds would be. Same with Merriman. Isn't it obvious!
Posted by schoenke at 1/10/2007 6:48:00 AM
Jason, what happens when Merriman is on the verge of Bruce Smith's sack record in 2022? My guess is that Brett Favre, QBing the Honolulu Packers, won't lay down for him like he did for Strahan.
Posted by bscwik at 1/10/2007 7:14:00 AM
Presuming Merriman stays "clean," no one will care by then. Plus, does anyone except Deacon Jones care about the sack record anyway?

Posted by Jason Thornbury at 1/10/2007 9:17:00 AM
No way the Packers move to Hawaii. Ruins the mythology of the team and the frozen tundra. Now Winnipeg, that I would buy...
Posted by ESiegrist at 1/10/2007 10:26:00 AM
Baseball is held to a higher standard in general. If a baseball player as prominent in MLB as Merriman is in the NFL failed a steroid test, we'd be hearing about subpoenas right now. The hypocrisy is pretty blatant.

Sports Illustrated will run a Peter King column talking up Merriman for the Defensive Player of the Year right next to a John Heyman column calling for an asterisk on 70 home runs.
Posted by czegers at 1/10/2007 4:00:00 PM
McGwire is getting scapegoated because he was, for better or worse, thrust into the golden boy hero role in 1998 with Sosa as the guys who saved baseball. And after his embarrassing performance in front of congress (not necessary his fault, but it was embarrassing), the media, who built him up, are tearing him down. As Thornbury said, no one cares if Ryan Franklin did steroids. But McGwire temporarily had the single-season home run record, and he was held up after the strike as something that was right with baseball - and it turns out he was jacked up on drugs. Merriman is an idiot - (did you catch him being interviewed at halftime last weekend - put some clothes on for God's sake). But if Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, LaDainian Tomlinson or Marshall Faulk (ambassadors of the game) tested positive, I think it would be a big deal. I think Bonds gets less crap partly because he's such an idiot anyway and no one liked him even without the allegations. McGwire was the golden boy, so now he's taking it on the chin. Plus, I really don't think you can say whether he'd be Hall of Fame caliber without the roids... and you can't give him the benefit of the doubt.

Posted by cliss at 1/10/2007 5:25:00 PM

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