Yes, the Kansas City Royals knew what they were getting when they signed 39-year-old infielder Miguel Tejada this year: Someone who had lied to Congress in 2005 about a steroids-related incident involving another player and who had lied about his age.
Now it turns out he’s been found to be adrug cheat this year
, and was suspended Saturday for 105 games by Major League Baseball for testing positive for amphetamines
Apologiesalready are being made
for Tejada and the Royals.
And there are always going to be a certain amount of dedicated American sports fans who think, well, everyone’s doping in baseball and other major league sports, so revelations like this one are no big deal.
But if you think doping in sports is wrong — which I and many others do — you have a right to be pleased by Tejada’s suspension.
It sends the right message: Cheaters will get punished.
Sure, you will be labeled a fuddy-duddy who “doesn’t understand” the real world of how players in major league sports feel the pressure to take performance enhancing drugs so they can make a lot of money.
And it’s absolutely and unfortunately true that, at least right now, cheaters also get to keep the money they earned before they got caught. And the teams, liked the Royals, benefit from whatever the player accomplishes before he gets suspended.
But there’s just one thing wrong with that everyone-does-it argument: Far from everyone does it.
In fact, tests in baseball, the National Football League and the National Hockey League show most athletes aren’t cheating.
That’s partly why it was so encouraging to see a number of MLB players speaking up in recent days about the need to continue to clean up their sport, in the wake of almost a dozen drug-related suspensions of baseball players.
The cheaters — like Tejada — deserve to be punished, not defended.
Instead, it’s OK to be mad at Tejada and all the other athletes who break the rules and diminish the value of the sports they play.