Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Sports bigger than imagined integrity


It’s the only word I can think of to describe all these evil, wicked, sinful sins that have been exposed within the wide world of sports in the past couple weeks.

Barry Bonds used the ‘roids? Jason Giambi was on the juice? The Olympics were a load of crap? David Boston’s muscles (GASP!) weren’t natural?


Jesus Christ. What’s next?

Are phone-tap testimonials going to reveal that Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa were “cheating” while they were chasing Roger Maris’s record? Is a new Michael Moore documentary going to hit theaters Dec. 24 detailing why Santa Claus won’t visit this winter? Is Lizzie Proctor’s Salem crew channeling evil spirits into little kids again? (I say we throw ’em all in the river just to make sure.)

In the words of my morally infallible co-editor Mikey Robinson, sports are in the process of becoming “nothing more than a high-priced science fair.” Disgusting.

I don’t know about you, but I’m appalled. The outrage in my pure Christian soul is boiling over. I mean, it doesn’t take a Ron Artest-caliber understanding of the world to realize that the integrity of American sports has been soiled like a girl’s dorm room after a Najeh Davenport sneak attack.

Wait a minute … Integrity?

Umm … Maybe I missed something. Since when has integrity had any place in sports? Since when has there been some sort of a factor of how “honorable” a person is when we tune in to see him hit a baseball, a jump shot, a field goal or — y’know — a person’s face? Since when have we had to pretend that we care about this garbage?

It seems that the entire country has managed to cleverly forget recently that sports and athletics were never really intended to be synonymous. To be specific: sports are athletics, but with entertainment value. The reason professional sports are popular … is that they’re entertaining. The reason cross-country meets aren’t … is that they aren’t.

And — whether you’re ready to admit it or not — it’s undeniable that long home runs, physically-jacked receivers, shattered records and monstrous muscles are tried and tested entertainment.

Is it outrageous that the crimes extend to the hallowed halls of the Olympics? Sure it is. Olympic competition is meant to be based on natural ability; and so it should be kept that way. It might make the games all but unwatchable, but that’s the whole idea.

But everyone — seriously, every single one of the holier-than-thou puritanical elitists out there — needs to just take a step back, cool down their outrage-jets and get over it where sports are concerned. Because — as much as anything — professional sports are steeped in the tradition of professional athletes bending the rules to gain an edge.

Steroids were a natural extension of this. To pretend that they weren’t going to become a reality — or, indeed, that they won’t continue to be a reality regardless of sanctions — is to ignore the nature of the system.

Do I like steroids? I sure as hell wouldn’t use them. I’d be pretty pissed off if anyone I knew decided to knowingly inject themselves with something that was going to have such proven negative effects. But that’s because they’re bad for a person, not because they’re bad for the sport. The two need to stop being confused.

If people I don’t know are determined to sacrifice their bodies so that I can watch them hit moonshots in batting practice, why not let them do it? It’s not my body, it’s not my decision, and it certainly shouldn’t be Bud Selig’s or (shudder) the government’s.

But, in a move that makes sense only in the kind of political climate currently pervading the U.S., everyone from Dubs on down to Mike Robinson (or on up — it’s unclear which direction that progression goes) is making Barry Bonds’ personal business their own.

Why does everyone all of a sudden care that Bonds is a bad person? Sure, he’s aloof and doesn’t pretend to have personal connections with fans the way that some other athletes do. He always has been. But what has he done in the past five years other than ruin his body for the sole purpose of hitting more homeruns and longer homeruns for us to watch?

We should be thanking him — not threatening him with asterisks. It’s not like before this oh-so-shocking revelation baseball in the Barry Bonds-era was on equal footing with baseball in the Babe Ruth-era.

I mean, come on, whether he juices or not, Bonds has like 50 personal trainers and another 30 dieticians — not to mention a gym in his basement, a lower mound, a video system for studying pitchers, a seriously diffused pitching talent pool and, y’know, ten more games per season (Remember? It was the reason for that first idiotic asterisk).

Bambino had cigarettes, hookers and booze. I’m not seeing the situations as comparable.

If we put an asterisk next to his name, all it does it place Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire back at the top of the “legitimate” record books. Now, I won’t pretend to know many details about just how much Bonds was ‘roiding himself up, but I guarantee his nut-sack is less shriveled than those two monsters.

(Speaking of Corky McRoidsAlot: How on earth is it possible that Sammy Sosa has not been implicated in this witch hunt? That’s like a brawl breaking out and ‘Sheed helping break it up. What the hell is the world coming to?)

What it comes down to is a pretty simple choice:

You can find yourself a nice moral high ground, don your favorite white robe and halo and climb up to watch sports with the rest of the hypocritical, stone-throwing, witch-hunting glass house ethic-snobs (I’ll go ahead an warn you, though, that it’s getting crowded up there).

Personally, I’d rather watch my sports in a dingy bar that sees between 50 and 100 acts per night of more moral ambiguity than an athlete trying to better himself. It’s more fun in there and, until someone proves to me otherwise, that’s what sports are meant to be.

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