January 2009 Ethics Dunces

Jay McGwire

Mark McGwire, the former baseball slugger who was the toast of the sport when he was on the way to breaking the all-time record for homers in a season, now resides in Baseball Purgatory. Ever since a combination of published exposés and his shame-faced refusal to answer questions before the Congressional committee investigating steroid use in baseball marked him as a steroid-user, McGwire’s reputation has deteriorated to that of a coward, a phony, and a fraud. With career accomplishments that would normally provide an automatic ticket to the Hall of Fame, McGwire has met with rejection each time his name has come up for a vote. Many predict that his stature will never recover sufficiently to gain him the honor.

This is tragic, but McGwire brought it all on himself. He decided to cheat. He gladly played the shining hero as he broke Roger Maris’s record in 1998, accepted the cheers, and took the endorsement checks. And when he could have accomplished much good by admitting everything, giving the details of his steroid use and apologizing sincerely, he opted for silence and exile.

But now his estranged brother, a former champion bodybuilder down on his luck, is peddling his own revelations of his brother’s steroid use — use, Jay McGwire says, inspired by his success building himself into a trophy-winning 300 pound tower of illegal muscle. Brother Jay says he has written the book “out of love” for his brother, who no longer sees, speaks to him, nor, presumably, gives him hand-outs.

Right. Jay McGwire is selling out his brother for cash. This is not a courageous whistleblower alerting a company to crime in its ranks. This is not a family member doing the right thing by refusing to help a parent, sibling, or offspring get away with child abuse, treason, fraud or murder. There is nothing admirable, selfless or courageous here. Jay McGwire wants money, and he is willing to embarrass and exploit his brother to get it.

I finally feel sorry for Mark McGwire. His friend and former team mate, Jose Canseco, sold him out for cash with his book, but like the old fable about the frog and the scorpion, McGwire knew what kind of person Canseco was before he shot steroids with him. You are accountable for the friends you keep. But it isn’t your fault that your brother is an Ethics Dunce.

Sports & EntertainmentJay McGwire (1/1/2008)

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