God bless America. The land of a thousand chances, and a thousand songs, and many of them out of tune.
After years of suspicion, Baltimore Oriole Brian Roberts admits he used steroids once: but he didn't inhale. Story in the Baltimore Sun.
Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts admitted last night that he used steroids "once," in 2003, but said he hasn't used them or any other performance-enhancing drugs since.
He was silent for four days after his name appeared in former Sen. George J. Mitchell's scathing report on steroid use in major league baseball. But last night Roberts issued a statement, which was provided to The Sun, that read:
"I would like to address the allegations that were made against me in the Mitchell Report. I will begin by saying that I have worked very hard to develop a good reputation both on and off the field. I have always taken pride in being a man of integrity and values. I know that by being a professional athlete, I am held to a very high standard. I never have and never will take that for granted. However, I am also human and I have made mistakes.
"In 2003, when I took one shot of steroids, I immediately realized that this was not what I stood for or anything that I wanted to continue doing. I never used steroids, human growth hormone or any other performance-enhancing drugs prior to or since that single incident. I can honestly say before God, myself, my family and all of my fans that steroids or any performance-enhancing drugs have never had any effect on what I have worked so hard to accomplish in the game of baseball. I am very sorry and I deeply regret ever making that terrible decision. My only hope and prayer is that the Orioles, my family, friends and fans that have supported me so faithfully will forgive me."
And just like that, Brian Roberts expects forgiveness, not from Orioles fans, but from his family, and his friends, and apparently from God. Roberts doesn't need to refund a penny of the $3,000,000 from 2006, and the $4,000,000 from 2007 to the fans and the advertisers that pay his salary. Often, if you cheat someone, you make restitution. Apparently Mr. Roberts feels he did not defraud the fans at all; the juice did not affect his performance. Not once.
Count Rick Mease as a doubter. Mease recalls the past Roberts denials of PED use. Roberts had this to say when the Jason Grimsley affidavit came out:
Roberts echoed his teammates' comments. "His accusations are ridiculous," Roberts told The Sun. "We've had steroid testing, and I've taken all the tests. There is no point in getting into verbal wars. That's really all there is to say." Orioles executive Mike Flanagan said the team supported Tejada, Gibbons and Roberts and wouldn't comment on the matter further.
So Roberts mislead Mike Flanagan too. Adds Mease:
According to the Mitchell Report, Roberts told former teammate Larry Bigbie that he tried steroids "once or twice." Turns out, if his admission is to be believed, he used only once.
Mease says about Robert's recent admission to being a one time juicer:
Is that true? Doesn't it contradict what he has asked us to believe before?
Roberts doesn't remember a reporter asking him specifically whether he'd used steroids, so technically he never actually denied using them. And thus, based on that technicality, he never lied.
I can't speak to the accuracy of that, though I do know that Roberts certainly led reporters and fans alike to believe that he'd never used performance-enhancing drugs. I guess lies can be as fluid as the truth.
Again, as anyone who deals with problem children knows, reinforcements to honesty include: restitution, and positive practice. So why isn't Roberts and the other 'roiders giving back some of that change in their pocket, then performing public service. After all, it appears Roberts defrauded his fans, his opponents, and his organization. That's sports fraud.
The society at large is a cheating society. A large percent of the population now struggles with the very concept of cheating; another large percentage makes excuses for the cheaters.
It is finals week for most American colleges. For Professor Johnson's ethics class the final test reads:
Compare and contrast Player X's scuffing of the baseball, to Player Y's steroid use. Include in your discussion the federal laws against carrying a concealed fingernail file as well as federal narcotics statues. Delineate side effects of the finger nail file and side effects of injected nandrolone.
Oh yes, and take a cup on the way out, because the class will be tested for steroid and amphetamine use...