The Steroid Double Standard

John Steigerwald Contributor
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You can’t do a story on the Baseball Hall of Fame balloting without mentioning steroids.

There was – and will be for a long time – as much if not more discussion about who was not elected to Cooperstown this week as there was about the four players who got in, John Smoltz, Craig Biggio, Pedro Martinez and Randy Johnson.

No Barry Bonds.

No Roger Clemens.

Arguments about whether suspected and/or convicted juicers like Clemens and Bonds deserve to in the Hall of Fame are as predictable as pitchers and catchers reporting in February.

Bonds received 36.8 percent of the vote. Clemens got about the same, 37.5.

Both deserve to get in on the first ballot based on their statistics but the writers who vote have decided that they deserve to not get what they deserve.

It’s punishment for using steroids.

For some reason, you can find plenty of stories about the Pro Football Hall of Fame voting that never mention steroids.

I would bet that anyone who has been in an NFL locker room in the last 20 years can look at the list of 15 NFL players, who were announced as HOF finalists on Thursday, and name several suspected juicers.

Dr. Charles Yesalis, one of the world’s foremost experts on the use of performance enhancing drugs in sports, has estimated that 85 percent of the players in the NFL are using some kind of PED.

So, why is there hardly a peep from any of the Pro Football Hall of Fame voters about steroids?

Most of the voters have been going into NFL locker rooms for at least 25 years. Only an idiot wouldn’t notice the ridiculous amount of muscle in the average NFL locker room and not believe that most of it was unnatural.

So what’s up?

Are home runs more sacred than touchdowns?

Strikeouts more sacred than sacks?

No sane person would believe that Barry Bonds could hit 73 home runs in a season with the body that he had prior to 1998, when he looked like a college basketball point guard.

Nor would any sane person believe that Roger Clemens could put up the numbers that he put up after 40 without all of those drugs his trainer never gave him.

NFL players weren’t dragged in front of Congress the way Major League Baseball players were.

Why not?

You could make a good case for Congress staying out of it altogether, but if the purpose was to expose the dangers of PED use and prevent young athletes from using them, why weren’t the athletes from the sport that introduced steroids to American sports more than 40 years ago, also called in?

Unnaturally oversized football players have been walking the Earth a lot longer than unnaturally oversized baseball players.

Where do you think the Father of Baseball Juicers, Jose Canseco, got the idea?

(By the way, have you noticed how many former NFL players have shrunk since going to work for ESPN?)

I decided a long time ago not to care who gets in any hall of fame. I lost my patience with the stupidity.

I know Barry Bonds was a Hall of Fame player and I also know that he was juiced to the point where it looked like one more injection or pill would cause his gigantic head to explode.

He chose to take an unorthodox, questionable, unethical approach to breaking some of baseball’s most sacred records.

So, now the Hall of Fame voters are taking an unorthodox, questionable and, in many cases, hypocritical approach when casting their ballots.

Too bad for Barry and the rest of the juicers.

The voters’ and the media’s standards for the two halls of fame are obviously different.

If you don’t believe me, just do some Googling on the two election results this week and count the number of times you find the word steroids in the baseball stories.

Then see how long it takes you to find one Pro Football Hall of Fame story with the word steroid in it.

My unscientific guess would be that the Hall of Fame in Canton has three steroid users for every Major League Baseball player ever suspected of using.

Pittsburgh ex-TV sportscaster, columnist and talk show host John Steigerwald is the author of the Pittsburgh sports memoir, “Just Watch The Game.” Follow him on Twitter.

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John Steigerwald