Steroid Verdict Is In: Nobody Cares

July 30, 2009

Will somebody please tell the sports media that most fans don't care about the steroid issue?

The recent "big news" that Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz tested positive for steroids in 2003 has sports writers and talk radio very excited. They feel obligated to report this story and take it very seriously. All of this presumably to help "uphold the integrity of the game" for the innocent and ignorant fans.

Here are 8 truths about steroids and the steroid-era that these media personalities and "news" outlets could learn.

8. Media efforts to blame the MLB Players Union for the entire steroid era only expose their own significant anti-labor bias.

Most fans do not identify with management or the corporate structure nearly as much as the media does (especially sports talk radio). The fact that there was large scale cheating is understood to be a systemic problem, not merely the result of the resistance to testing by players.

7. Many fans view the use of performance enhancing drugs as much more morally ambiguous than the media.

The temptation of players to use these drugs is, if not condoned, at least understood. The fact that any form of "cheating" is wrong does not mean it is clear how wrong. Fans can see the grey despite the media's attempts to suggest the issue is black and white.

6. Efforts to force MLB to release all the names of the 2003 List in violation of its agreement with the Players Union are entirely media driven. Fans don't care.

Believe it or not, many fans actually can walk and chew gum at the same time.

Unlike many media members, fans can live with the ambiguity of not knowing if a player took steroids or not. They can cheer for a player without coming to a conclusion about his past. They can even judge his potential historical greatness keeping in context the steroid era.

5. Personality and Production are more important to fans than Performance Enhancing Drugs.

There is no "controversy" about Manny Ramirez nor is there any suspense about how he will be treated by his home fans. The new information will not lessen his popularity in Los Angeles at all. The fans love Ramirez because of his style and joyful playing of the game.

Even a much more judgmental city like Boston will not condemn David Ortiz for his steroid use in 2003. If they do, it is more likely because they will be resentful that his play has dropped significantly since then.

4. Winning is the highest priority of most sports fans, with very few exceptions.

Of course Red Sox fans would have preferred to break the curse and win the World Series in 2004 and 2007 without any players on steroids. However, would they give up those World Series wins in exchange for 100% assurance that no Red Sox player ever took steroids? The answer reveals the priorities.

3. Fans are bored of the steroid issue because they recognize that there are almost no more true "breaking stories" regarding steroid use.

Everybody is already aware that steroids were highly prevalent over the last 25 years in baseball. Further evidence of this fact is not new information. Repeating the same thing over and over gets dull.

2. Fans are not merely tired of the media focus on steroids, but irritated by it.

Fans are not suffering from "moral fatigue" as some in the media have suggested. It isn't just that fans don't like to be depressed with bad news. Nor are people weakening their values and caving into an acceptance of all forms of cheating.

Quite simply, most fans who have an interest in sports would rather talk about something else. There are plenty of other stories from a number of sports that interest them more. When those in the media appear to be blatantly driving a story down the throat of the reader, listener, or viewer then resentment begins to build regardless of the subject matter.

1. Fans hold the media responsible as well.

Here is a simple message I hope those in the media truly absorb: No amount of investigation, reporting, or professed indignation today will ever absolve you or your industry from the truth that you failed to help prevent steroid use while it was happening.

Remember this next time you choose to waste everyone's time on this issue.

Manish Pandya
Staff Editor for

1 comment:

  1. Finally someone who understands that that the steroid story is played out! The reason why its such a big deal is that the media has been kissing Red Sox a** for the past few years, and now their beloved team has been exposed.


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