Many of you will be unfamiliar with the particulars of this story.
The shame of it rests upon those of us who report on and opine about sports news, because this happened on our watch.
Brian Cushing remains the AP Rookie of the Year in the NFL.
I say “remains” because it came out that Cushing tested positive for a steroid masking agent, one which, ah, puts the lead back into the pencil, so to speak.
Here’s where it matters to you and I: the Associated Press tried to do the right thing, in the wake of Cushing’s positive nightmare. Cushing flunked the biggest Stupid Test in the long, sad history of Stupid Tests. The NFL’s Performance Enhancing Drug test is not as comprehensive or exact as, say, an Olympic test or Tour De France test, but it accomplishes one thing: anyone stupid enough to be caught by it deserved to be caught.
Put another way, this test was designed by Wile E. Coyote. If the Roadrunner fell for this one, he deserved to be in the stewpot as a stuttering Porky Pig ended the cartoon. No one wanted the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year to be tarred with the P.E.D. brush, so the AP offered a re-vote, figuring that consciences would be clear to vote for others who haven’t tested positive for Popeye’s Spinach.
Eighteen voters re-named Cushing their Rookie of the Year, and, by dint of sheer numbers (and a complete confusion about The Title Of The Award…geez), a confirmed steroids cheat is “very honored” (his words…gall quotient to be calculated later) to remain the winner.
Eighteen professional sports writers who should have known better didn’t even consider the other candidates…you know, the ones who DIDN’T get caught using the illegal drugs…probably because they WEREN’T using the illegal drugs…Nope, eighteen adults that make a LOT more than I ever will allowed a thief to steal a hallowed award.
No, it’s worse than that.
The thief stole the award. These boneheads then put his name on it.
Possession is truly nine-tenths of the law…
Paraphrasing Willie Mays, say…what?
I will hear NOTHING from anyone with the testicular fortitude to suggest that, for example, Cushing wasn’t the only one, or that “they all do it.”
Here’s what I believe.
I believe that anyone eating magic beans to compete will continue to do so, because it is only by said beans that they accomplish what they can. I believe that such persons are not chemists, and are completely unaware of the many, many ways in which high school science can expose them for the cheats that they are. I believe that they have the imagination of Wal-Mart shoplifters, which is why I also believe that they are caught almost as often as Wal-Mart shoplifters.
This is why we KNOW about knuckleheads like Marion Jones, Rafael Palmeiro, Floyd Landis, and so many others.
This is why we CATCH knuckleheads like Manny Ramirez and Brian Cushing.
These tests are only designed to catch the ones doing it all the time.
That would be everyone doing P.E.D.’s, by the way.
Why would a guy who was gifted by (insert Deity/Random Universal Factor of your choice) need to use something extra to beat the competition, when he was already better than the next man simply by waking up that morning?
I see you, Barry Bonds Argument, and you can Shut. The. Hell. Up.
For every Barry Bonds you offer, I can offer a Dale Murphy.
For anyone Marion Jones outran, I can offer the woman who competed cleanly.
This is why Brian Cushing’s Rookie of the Year award is, frankly, a travesty.
The man is a proven steroid cheat, and yet he gets to share an award with NFL legends like Joe Greene and Jack Lambert?
(To Anyone Braver Than Me: Go ahead, Rambo. Accuse Jack By-God Lambert of doing anything but honestly knocking the bodily fluids of whoever was in front of him as long as they said it wasn’t something called “assault with intent…” Here’s me, safe in Korea. There’s you, scared of your doorbell ringing…but I digress…chicken…)
There are times when I say what most of the sports-writing community says.
There are times when I call out my higher-paid brethren (and as long as I ain’t doing this for free, “we be of one blood, ye and I”…thanks, Rudyard). This is one of them.
To anyone who had the temerity to vote for Brian Cushing a second time, shame on you.
Shame, shame, shame on you.
It’s not enough that you acted senselessly.
It’s not enough that because I also write about sports, your idiocy has ensnared me.
It’s not enough that greater men are now shamed by the selfish acts of a lesser man.
Because of you, steroid abuse is legitimized.
Because of you, young men that might not have considered the needle (as opposed to living like the rest of the unwashed mortals) will now take that extra step, because, hey, what’s the cost? A four-gamer and a big, black ink award in my career column? Get me Jose Canseco’s number, stat!
Because of you, I actually need to apologize for what I do.
As does Brian Cushing, by the way…