There is a double standard, I mean look EVERYONE IN THE NFL USES STEROIDS , so why is baseball the ONLY topic being discussed with steroids?

I mean give me a break, I would venture to guess that 99.9% of NFL players are on all sorts of juice, so why isn’t there any congress investigation of that, can anyone say double standard!!! I KNOW I CAN!

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It’s the game he loves and the sport that’s given Mike Sweeney wealth and friends beyond his imagination.

It’s the game he loves and the sport that’s given Mike Sweeney wealth and friends beyond his imagination. And that’s why he won’t keep quiet about the double standard that’s made baseball the national bad guy.

He’s watched steroid use — especially steroid use in baseball — become the story that won’t go away, and, consequently, Mark McGwire become the ex-hero who’s had to go away.

McGwire was declined induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Tuesday, and he’s nowhere to be found, shamed by allegations and assumptions about something he’s never been proven guilty of.

Meanwhile, please congratulate San Diego Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman on his Pro Bowl selection.

Merriman led the league with 17 sacks and finished third in the NFL Defensive Player of the Year voting — and served a four-game suspension after testing positive for the steroid nandrolone.

“It breaks my heart,” Sweeney says, “that a guy like McGwire has been persecuted for something he never tested positive for or never admitted to, yet there are guys playing on Sundays in the NFL that tested positive and people just seem to cover that up.”

So how’d we get to this point?

There are a million reasons this exists, and none of them fully explains it. Football people proudly talk about the NFL running a drug policy since 1990, whereas baseball started testing only in recent years after embarrassing media reports.

“We started doing this a long time ago,” says NFL vice president of public relations Greg Aiello, “and have continued to review and modify the policy and strengthen it on a yearly basis. That’s why we do receive credit.”

Baseball people, on the other hand, talk about the sport’s history and place in America’s past and culture as reason they are often criticized.

“We are held to a higher standard,” Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig has said. “Pro football had a meteoric rise in the `60s, `70s and `80s, and during that period they had their problems with steroids as well.”

Independent observers say that’s part of the problem, that instead of developing a legitimate drug policy, baseball’s reaction has too often been to point its finger and say, well, football started it.

Maybe this begins to explain the venom for McGwire and Barry Bonds and the acceptance for Merriman and former NFL linebacker Bill Romanowski. One side has literally made a federal case out of the same issue the other side has been able to breeze past.

“There’s a large P.R. component to this,” says Mark Fainaru-Wada, one of the San Francisco Chronicle reporters whose work helped expose steroids in baseball. “Football has stayed largely under the radar while baseball has come un-der attack in a much larger way.

“I’m not saying it’s wrong for baseball to come under attack. I think the question is whether football’s gotten the attention it’s deserved.”

Two Marches ago, even while the NCAA Tournament was in its opening day, the sporting world’s eyes were glued to television sets, watching baseball’s brass and brightest stars take a verbal beatdown during a congressional hearing.

Charles Yesalis is a former Penn State professor who has studied and written extensively about fighting drugs in sports. He was a few rows behind Selig, close enough to feel the damage.

“What I was hearing in my perverse brain, in every way I could interpret,” Yesalis says, “was, `Mr. Selig, look, (then-NFL commissioner Paul) Tagliabue has an excellent facade to cover up their drug use. We want you to adopt a bet-ter facade to cover up your drug use so our constituents aren’t screaming and yelling.”’

Shortly after that, Yesalis and a friend laughed at the notion of the NFL as the gold standard for drug testing, and there is plenty of evidence that performance enhancers are at least as prevalent in the NFL as MLB.

A handful of Carolina Panthers players were proved in court documents to have been issued refillable steroids prescriptions but managed to skirt NFL punishment. Former lineman Dana Stubblefield once guessed that 30 percent of players used HGH, and Washington lineman Jon Jansen said in an HBO piece that 15 percent to 20 percent used some sort of performance enhancer.

NFL quarterback Jim Miller was suspended for steroids and joked around about it to reporters, while baseball sluggers are often assumed guilty until proven innocent.

Just this year, Merriman — who said he took an over-the-counter supplement that was approved by the FDA but not the NFL — and Detroit Lions star defensive tackle Shaun Rogers each tested positive for banned substances. Imagine if two of the top sluggers in baseball were suspended in the same season.

“If somebody does something that’s against the rules, they should have equal judgment and consequence across pro sports,” says Richard Lapchick, director of The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at the University of Central Florida. “We’ve never done that in the history of American sports.”

Truth is, the NFL’s policy has the same inherent and inevitable loopholes as MLB. Most obvious is that there is no reliable test for HGH or insulin-like growth factor.

The biggest problem, in Yesalis’ estimation, is the lack of transparency. In both the NFL and Major League Baseball policies, the league controls the testing and information.

“It’s the fox guarding the henhouse,” Yesalis says. “There is no independent agency of journalists or people like me who aren’t on the payroll with no vested interest in this. The only way you’re going to find out who tested positive is when they tell you who tested positive.”

For a better understanding of why people seem to view the NFL’s fox as Jack Bauer and MLB’s as Barney Fife, think back to those congressional hearings two years ago.

The NFL had a similar appointment, but Tagliabue and the league’s administrators were very cooperative. They provided information. They answered questions. They played the game.

Selig, on the other hand, initially said he wouldn’t attend. Rafael Palmeiro laughed the first time someone asked if he’d go. Said it was his wife’s birthday.

“I’ve worked on hearings for 20 years,” said Phillip Schiliro, chief of staff for U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman of California, the panel’s top-ranking Democrat, “and we’ve never had a witness say, `It’s my wife’s birthday.”’

We bring this up because the Baseball Hall of Fame announced its newest members on Tuesday. It’s almost always a glorious time in baseball.

Not this year. Not even with two icons — Cal Ripken and Tony Gwynn — set for induction. McGwire’s eligibility has generated a new wave of steroids stories overshadowing Ripken’s 2,632 consecutive games played and Gwynn’s .338 lifetime average.

All this comes eight years after cocaine addict and suspended drug user Lawrence Taylor was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The museum in Canton, Ohio, has what some refer to as “The Lawrence Taylor Rule,” which states that only on-field performance should be considered.

Baseball’s ballot says, “Voting shall be based on player’s record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character and contributions to the teams on which the player played.”

Big difference.

“You have to treat them differently,” says St. Louis Post-Dispatch colum-nist Bernie Miklasz, who votes for both halls. “You’re given completely different instructions.”

It’s a fuzzy line, to be sure. Ferguson Jenkins and Orlando Cepeda are both Hall of Famers with cocaine convictions on their records. Gaylord Perry doctored baseballs.

So cocaine’s OK. Greasing balls is fine. Amphetamines, used by generations of ballplayers, is acceptable.

Miklasz voted for McGwire in large part because there is no definitive proof of steroid use — though Miklasz assumes McGwire is guilty. On the other hand, he says he wouldn’t have voted Merriman for Defensive Player of the Year because of the suspension.

“I do think steroids would create some gray area even in the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection,” Miklasz says. “If we know for a fact that steroids enhance a player’s performance, I don’t see how you can’t take that into consideration.

“Merriman, if he has his day where he’s a finalist for the Hall of Fame, we’ll have the kind of discussion baseball voters are having right now.”

Somewhere in here, somewhere in the way we digest our sports, is the reason baseball’s record book is now a James Frey novel, but the NFL is the most power-ful and popular league in the country.

It’s not just the NFL’s proactive approach. It’s not just baseball’s reluc-tance to do anything on its own. And it’s not just that of the two biggest targets — McGwire and Bonds — one broke the most famous record in baseball and the other is on the verge of breaking perhaps the second-most famous record in baseball.

It’s all those things with others, but if we’re really serious about cracking down on the dangers of steroids, putting heat on the NFL is barely a start.

“Take a closer look at college football and high schools, too,” Lapchick says. “The biggest consumers of performance-enhancing drugs in America today are teenage boys under the age of 16 who are not athletes. It’s a pervasive social issue that goes even beyond sports, certainly beyond what’s going on in the NFL and Major League Baseball.”

 

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