Roger Clemens was acquitted of all the charges against him. The feds blew yet another one, along with countless millions of our taxpayer dollars. Did Clemens really use performance enhancing drugs and lie about it? I have no idea, nor do I care. Only the most close-minded cynics could possibly doubt his greatness over the course of his 24 year career, the vast majority of which occurred before such things were even available.
Yet there are those that say they still oppose Clemens being enshrined in baseball's Hall of Fame. Evidently they have more incriminating information at their disposal than Clemens' jury was made privy to over 9 weeks of testimony in his trial. Either that, or such people are incapable of being objective, and would rather attempt to impose their own set of "principles", and I use the word loosely, on others.
The same goes for Barry Bonds. Let's not forget that after years of being dragged through the muck by prosecutors, the only thing he was convicted of was a minor obstruction of justice charge. Like Clemens, the feds couln't convince Bonds' jury either that he had used PEDs. The sentence? 30 days home confinement -- in his own mansion. I don't know whether Bonds actually used the "cream", the "clear", and whatever else either. There's something far more important afoot.
In America, it's an old adage that one is "presumed innocent until proven guilty". Neither Clemens nor Bonds was found guilty of any drug related charges. Therefore, the law itself says they must continued to be presumed innocent. How phrases such as "not guilty" and "acquitted" somehow crept into existence, while "innocent" goes out the window forever upon merely being charged with a crime, would seem to contradict the law. Innocent going in -- not convicted -- should be innocent coming out. But it doesn't work that way anymore -- does it?
Certainly, we all have our own prejudices here and there about various things. It's human nature. Only a liar would deny that. Yet it becomes offensive when the very people we trust to provide us information -- the media -- start to show their prejudices in what they write or say publicly. Sure, there's always going to be radical whack-jobs on both the left and right spewing their venom, but dammit, the "mainstream media" is supposed to be objective, and not let their own inner biases outshine the issue itself when they are presenting it to the public.
That especially holds true when such folks have a "say-so" in whether a great athlete like Clemens or Bonds gets elected to the Hall of Fame. Many of them get a vote. The numbers these guys put up suggest a no-brainer. For various reasons, no other future pitcher will ever surpass Clemens' 354 career wins. A-Rod of the Yankees, himself somewhat implicated in PEDs, has a shot at surpassing Bonds' record of 762 home runs, but after that, it will never be approached again. Like Cal Ripken's 2632 record of consecutive games played -- it's a simple matter of longevity. Players don't play that long anymore.
We can throw Pete Rose into the discussion. He's the all-time hit leader in major league history -- another record that will never be approached. No PEDs for Pete, but alas, he bet on baseball. Never on his own team to lose, mind you, but rather win. Yours truly is yet to understand what was so terribly wrong with that, but many in the media needed only to hear the word "gambling" and somehow decided Rose was akin to the infamous Chicago Black Sox of 1919. (By the way, after hearing all the so-called evidence, a court eventually completely exonerated Shoeless Joe Jackson and his teammates of any wrong-doing, but the public perception of guilt remains to this day -- and that's just wrong). Even though Rose was "banned" from baseball, hence ineligible for the Hall of Fame, every year when it came time for ballots to be cast, some pundits with their own agendas would spout off about how he didn't deserve it. An objective person might ask -- well gee, if Rose isn't even on the ballot, then what's the point of ranting about their reasons for not voting for him?
Thing is -- Rose is going into Cooperstown eventually. He may not live to see it, but it will happen someday -- because it has to. Personally, I didn't, and don't care much for Rose as a man, but I certainly respect him for what he accomplished on the field of play. The all-time hits leader not in the Hall of Fame? Are you kidding me?
Yet some will persistently disagree. They remain subjective rather than objective -- a cardinal sin in journalism. Shame on them.
As I write this, Jerry Sandusky's jury is about to go into deliberations to decide whether he molested young boys years ago. Did he do it? Beats me. I wasn't there and didn't hear the testimony. Contrary to what many think -- he's still presumed innocent unless and until the jury comes back and says "guilty". Like most of you, I'm only privy to what the talking head analysts have been saying on TV. In this corner, we have Marcia Clarke, advocate for the prosecution, and if I remember right, the same prosecutor that many thought bungled the OJ Simpson murder trial. In the other corner, we have some guy that seems to make a living giving commentary but nobody knows the last time he was an active attorney in a courtroom. Those who can -- do. Those who can't -- preach.
Unlike so many others, I would never have drawn any conclusions about Sandusky's guilt or innocence until the jury has spoken. Isn't that the way it should be?
But many others don't see it that way. These are the same people that will gladly accept various awards for "hard-biting" journalism which involved tearing up somebody's else's life, and will even brag about them. If the "accused" is eventually exonerated, these people will never ever write or utter a retraction saying they were wrong and apologizing. Oh no. They'll just look around for their next target to smear, regardless of what people with all the relevant information at their disposal have decided.
In a perfect world, some agency would come along that put those reporters and talking heads under the very same microscope they put others. What could be fairer than that?
That probably won't happen anytime soon, but here's at least hoping for a little more objectivity and a lot less personal agendas.
Is that asking too much?