Their View

Chicago Tribune

L is for ‘loser,’ not ‘legendary’

Former star outfielder Jose Canseco’s allegations of widespread steroid use among baseball’s major leaguers isn’t so much shocking as it is repellent. In his Sunday interview with “60 Minutes” and his newly published book, Canseco tries to make the case for steroids’ natural place in the American pastime.

He’s wrong of course. Steroids don’t belong in sports, whether at the professional and Olympic levels or, more chillingly, among teenagers who may see what the stars do and try to gain an athletic edge of their own.

Canseco told CBS interviewer Mike Wallace, “I truly believe, because I’ve experimented with it for so many years, that it can make an average athlete a super athlete. It can make a super athlete incredible, just legendary.”

That’s how Canseco’s appearance in the segment ended: a loopy product endorsement, unchallenged, on a television program that has earned its credibility by challenging fools.

That ending must have left many viewers with a sour taste. Yet it also permitted us to add our own postscript: Mr. Canseco, that’s disgusting.

The most alarming revelation in this sad saga is the one in plain sight: Canseco himself. He makes no excuses about his use of steroids, which he said began in the mid-1980s. His book is almost a reader’s guide to bulking up. There are details about injection angles, types of steroids and disposal of syringes.

Canseco, thankfully, is out of baseball. The game may still have other cheats in it, if Canseco is to be believed, but earlier this year Major League Baseball and the players union took a tentative step toward ridding the game of steroids by hammering out a somewhat stricter drug testing policy. It’s a start. And perhaps this off-season will mark the beginning of the end of one of the sorriest periods in baseball history, when the game allegedly became juiced.

Those who run the game and those who play it, though, should heed Canseco’s unintended but enduring message: Steroids are for losers.

The above editorial appeared in the Chicago Tribune on Tuesday, Feb. 15 and was made available through KRTcampus.