Rant: Tired of innuendo? Prove you're clean and we'll move on
By PETE YOUNG, Times Staff Writer
Published February 29, 2004
If Barry Bonds, Jason Giambi, Sammy Sosa or any other home run masher questioned about using steroids wants to clear his name, he knows how he can do it.
Take a credible drug test. Make the test and results known to the public. Take it twice, just to be sure. Then move on with your career, suspicion-free.
Yes, that apparently would be in violation of their union agreement. Yes, they would be breaking ranks with a union that has done a great deal for its membership. Yes, that would seem to surrender to the dangerous guilty-until-proven-innocent mentality.
But what is the union, which negotiated a flimsy testing system, doing for them? What is it doing for the vast majority of its membership that doesn't cheat, yet is tossed into the quagmire with the steroid users?
The situation has changed dramatically in recent months. Random testing of MLB players for steroids last season revealed a 5-7 percent user rate. A popular California supplements lab with close ties to many players, including Bonds and Giambi, has been accused of distributing steroids to baseball players.
Bonds, Giambi and Sosa all have deflected the steroid issue. Which naturally leads to more suspicion. It's time for them to stand up and take the test. Publicly. The 93-95 percent who aren't on steroids are the ones who need to be protected, not the 5-7 percent who cheat themselves and the game.
If you know there are cheaters but don't know who is cheating, then you don't know who is clean. And every home run is under suspicion until we do.
Rave: A Grizzlie turnaround proves West still has his brain cells intact
Jerry West had lost his desire to win. Or he was senile. Or he wanted to stir up the ghost of Elvis. Or, just once, he wanted to experience life on the bottom before he faded away.
Those were a few of the popular rationales when West, one of the best players and executives in NBA history with the Lakers, came out of a two-year retirement at 65 to operate the hapless Memphis Grizzlies in 2002.
Then West went about proving any number of those theories correct. He got fleeced by Sacramento, which dumped the uncontrollable Jason Williams on him in exchange for emerging star Mike Bibby. He hired a coach, Hubie Brown, who was so old, who hadn't been on the sideline in so long, just about no one under 21 knew he ever had been a coach. He got schooled by the Magic, who pried Drew Gooden from Memphis for middling Mike Miller.
Yep, West had gone south. His team was a Beale Street punch line in high tops. Hors d'oeuvre for the Western Conference kingpins.
Not quite. Somehow, against all conventional wisdom, West has cobbled together a winner. The erstwhile laughingstocks were 34-22 last week when they did the previously unthinkable: They made playoff tickets available.
One player, Stromile Swift, remains from when West took over. Williams has become a model of efficiency. Brown has his 10-deep, starless team playing hard and selflessly for 48 minutes.
Turns out West knows exactly what he is doing, same as ever.
[Last modified February 29, 2004, 01:15:11]
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