An open letter to Mark McGwire: Please save sports for us
Dear Mark McGwire,
Following the recent doping scandal of Floyd Landis, I was struck with one simple truth – all sports are thoroughly tarnished.
There can no longer be a great athletic accomplishment without the public thinking that somehow performance enhancing drugs were a part of it. No, it’s not fair, but it is fact.
All athletes are guilty now, Mark, and this is something you helped start. Now is the time for you to be man enough to step up to the plate and help end this.
Mark, when you hit 70 home runs in 1998 and put on a great show with Sammy Sosa, we all stood and cheered. I know I can look back and know that I lied to myself. I knew, Mark. I just looked the other way, like most everyone else. In a way, we are all complicit. I was a fool, Mark, I can admit that.
Because Mark, we know. When you stood before Congress and took the 5th, when you said “I’m not here to talk about the past,” you rubbed it in. Now, by avoiding former Sen. George Mitchell’s investigation into performance-enhancers in baseball, you are rubbing it in deeper.
Remember the children, Mark? Well, you’ve helped destroy sports for them. Not baseball, but ALL sports. Because now, the truth appears obvious: you cannot achieve at a high level in athletics without cheating. You must take steroids, or human growth hormones, or whatever the dope du jour is. You must break the law. You must lie. And you must put your body in serious peril. Only then can you hope to strive to be the best.
Mark, you can help turn the tide on this. It’s time for you to quit playing the “I’m a private person” card. It’s time for you to stand up and admit every wrong thing you put in your body in order to be a better baseball player.
People adored you because you had an integrity when you played the game, Mark. But that integrity seems to be gone. Perhaps it’s a side effect. Because now you just don’t seem to care.
You cut a wide swath, Mark. It’s possible if you take that painful first bullet, the rest will step up and take theirs. And face it, it’s your only shot at salvation, even if jail time is involved.
Because, Mark, whether it’s baseball, football, golf, hockey, cycling or curling, it just doesn’t matter. Athletics are tainted. You can help bring it back.
William K. Wolfrum
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