I will start by saying I realize I'm going to take a lot of heat for this blog. There will be a large portion of the population that thinks I'm naive and a complete idiot. But let's face it -- won't be the first time and definitely won't be the last.
I do not in any way shape or form condone Mark McGwire's use of steroids and human growth hormone (HGH), but I am willing to forgive him for a mistake.
It was a huge mistake. Bigger than McGwire's biceps ever grew during the late '90s. Drug use in any sport sends a terrible message to young athletes and makes cheating seem acceptable.
But I give the guy credit for 'fessing up. Better late than never.
Was his apology perfect? No. We all know that steroids enhance an athlete's performance, especially when it comes to power. It is scientifically proven and used in medicine to make patients stronger. My own aunt used it when MS ravaged her body and made her weak. So it was not the best choice of words for the former first baseman to say he only used steroids to treat injuries and it did not affect his performance.
Of course it did. McGwire may have had the natural talent of unbelievable hand-eye coordination and ability to make contact with a baseball, but superhero power isn't human. Even among the best athletes in the world.
The bottom line, everyone chastised McGwire for years about his lack of remorse, and then when he issues an apology, we don't like his verbiage.
We want the cheater to tell the truth about what he did, but yet we're not happy with his explanation? I can't help but wonder if no matter what McGwire would have said, most sports fans still wouldn't have been satisfied.
Do we really want the truth or would we prefer a version of the facts we are all comfortable hearing?
Countless journalists and fans vilified a guy who just went in front of everyone to tell his story. The story everyone attacked him for not telling earlier. Everyone kept saying, "we just want McGwire to admit he used steroids". So he makes an admission, but now we don't like how he spelled it all out.
As I watched TV Monday night and read the blogs, columns and tweets, I was most disturbed by the high horse everyone started to ride. I guess I forgot that not one of us has ever made a mistake. There isn't a sports fan, writer or TV anchor who has hurt our friends, teammates, or someone we love. Lied? Nope, not one of us has ever lied to save our ass.
And please, spare me the argument that McGwire made millions of dollars by deceiving the public who paid to watch him play. Speculation of steroids has been around for a long time, yet until it was brought to the forefront, we all kept paying to see oversized athletes knock the ball out of the park. Hell, even after it became casual conversation fans flocked to see the returns of Alex Rodriguez and Manny Ramirez. Clearly the sold out stadiums, mocking or not, didn't care what the player injected as long as he was entertaining.
But our lies are OK, aren't they? We can light up the message boards condemning the guilty, but yet we have no problem sleeping at night when they lead our team to a title.
What does the Bible verse say? Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.
Apparently we are a nation of sinless stone throwers.
I hate steroids, HGH and anything else that gives a player or team an unfair advantage.
I love baseball and the memories it evokes of times with my dad, high up in the grandstand, hoping to catch a home run ball.
And I believe in forgiveness. People make mistakes. Some are greater than others. But having the courage to face the music deserves something.
You don't have to give McGwire a standing ovation. Baseball writers certainly don't have to vote an admitted drug user into the Hall of Fame. There is no reason to reward a professed cheater. But who among us wouldn't want to be forgiven after doing wrong?
I do not condone Mark McGwire's steroid use. I do not think he deserves the distinction of being in the Hall of Fame. I do, however, think he deserves forgiveness and a chance to move forward. I think we all do.
Trenni Kusnierek is a sports reporter and radio host who has worked for networks such as ABC, Big Ten, MLB, and NFL. She is currently on 540 ESPN in Milwaukee on both the D-List and Broad Side. Kusnierek is also freelance writing and reporting until January, when she will leave on a service trip to India.
A graduate of Marquette University, she holds a degree in Broadcast and Electronic Journalism. An avid marathon runner, Kusnierek qualified for the 2010 Boston Marathon by running a 3:37:02 at the Lakefront Marathon in Milwaukee.