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Friday, March 09, 2007

The Dreaded "C" Word

Hearing the excuses from the Evernham fans the past few weeks opens up room for much discussion. Excuses like; (a) "How can Nascar penalize the 10 and 19 teams when the teams used the same fasteners the previous year?" (b) "If it is okay last year then it should be okay this year." or (c) "Its Nascar's fault for not catching them last year, but decides to catch them this year". But this blog really isn't about the Evernham cheating with the 10 and 19 cars specifically, but it is more about the premise of when and how a participant gets caught cheating, and how many other times that participant got away with it.

A Recent Sports Illustrated report makes the claim that Los Angeles Angels outfielder Gary Matthews has been directly linked to receiving Human Growth Hormone (HGH) in 2004. Using the excuses sited above, should Matthews have the Scarlet Letter "C" branded on him as a 'cheater'?

A few facts about HGH, Major League Baseball since 2004.
1) Taking HGH in 2004 wasn't technically against Major League Baseball rules, since that substance wasn't added to the banned list until 2005
2) There is no direct evidence that Matthews in 2005 or even 2006 took HGH after the substance was banned by Major League Baseball.
3) To date: Major League Baseball still does not have a proven screening for HGH.

Lets just make a couple of assumptions that Matthews in '04 and as recently as last year did indeed take HGH in order to better his on field performances and apply the same excuses/questions that some a the Evernham fans are using.

1) How can Major League Baseball (and the public in general) penalize Matthews for receiving a substance that was not even illegal under the rules in 2004?

2) If it was okay to use in previous years, shouldn't it be okay to use this year?

3) Its Major League Baseball's fault for not coming up with a test but deciding to make a substance illegal. After all they didn't catch Matthews in '04, '05, or even last year. Why is this year any different?

Now don't get me wrong, I am not defending Matthews in any way, but I am pointing out the bias of the excuses given when it comes to recent Nascar penalties.

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