Jason Giambi Admits Steroid Use Publicly, MLB To Investigate
On May 18, USA Today published an article wherein Jason Giambi essentially admitted using steroids, and said all of baseball should apologize for what has happened.
“I was wrong for doing that stuff. What we should have done a long time ago was stand up — players, ownership, everybody — and said: ‘We made a mistake.'”
“We should have apologized back then and made sure we had a rule in place and gone forward. … Steroids and all of that was a part of history. But it was a topic that everybody wanted to avoid. Nobody wanted to talk about it.”
The following day Sports Illustrated (among others) reported that Major League Baseball would be investigating the matter. ‘Baseball Officials’ told SI that “(Giambi) has possibly opened him up for questioning by Major League Baseball, additional scrutiny from both baseball and his team and perhaps even a suspension if it can be determined when he took the steroids.” There are also suggestions that MLB and the Yankees could look into voiding the remainder of his contract. But because MLB has no knowledge of exactly when Giambi used steroids, and they didn’t even test for them until 2004, any repercussions seem highly unlikely.
New York Yankees general manager, Brian Cashman, said before Friday’s game against the Mets.
“The commissioner’s office, I think, is going to be looking into this, and so at this point I just can’t comment. Let the commissioner go through the process he needs to go through, and we’ll go from there.”
Cashman sounded very defensive.
“There’s an implication that there was a lot of people that were involved that would know that, what was going on, and I can tell you that’s false. We’ve spoken to that in the past, so I do have a problem with that, without a doubt, because I can tell you — I can speak from being right there, too — that whatever goes on individually with these guys is really on them.”
Giambi, whom USA Today said was actually interviewed May 16, said he’s thankful for baseball’s steroid policy that was revised before the 2006 season. He also said he doesn’t use human growth hormone.
“Unfortunately, [the rumors] are going to be a part of it. But that’s OK. I’m probably tested more than anybody else. I’m not hiding anything. That stuff didn’t help me hit home runs. I don’t care what people say, nothing is going to give you that gift of hitting a baseball.”
Giambi joins a small list of players who have admitted publicly to using steroids. The list includes (in a wide range of severity) his brother, Jeremy, Jose Canseco, Ken Caminiti, Tom House, Wally Joyner, and Paxton Crawford.
Should Major League Baseball Apologize?
In no way is any of this supposed to excuse Jason Giambi’s behavior throughout his career. Giambi never spoke until he was caught, and he’s been silent ever since (fearing the potential termination of his contract), but isn’t he kind of right, about the apology, even if he may be a hypocrite?
Wouldn’t any major media company apologize when an employee makes profane or inappropriate comments on air? When Don Imus called Rutger’s Women’s basketball team ‘nappy headed hos,’ on his show aired by MSNBC, the parent company, NBC Universal, removed Imus’ show and issued a statement apologizing for what the company had done.
From NBC Universal’s statement:
“Once again, we apologize to the women of the Rutgers basketball team and to our viewers. We deeply regret the pain this incident has caused.”
The CEO himself was not directly responsible, and no reasonable person would hold him personally responsible. But the company has a system and chain of command that are responsible for how the company is run. The people who hire the people who tarnish the company are also responsible for their hiring decisions. That pattern of responsibility goes all the way up to the head of the company, and applies to the company as a whole.
Imus himself, MSNBC, and NBC Universal ALL apologized separately. There has been nothing but blame and denials in baseball.
This is not a comparison of issues. Any comparison of racism as a societal problem to baseball’s steroid issues would be insulting to everyone, especially those enduring and/or fighting racism. But we’re talking about how a company accepts responsibility for the actions of its employees, actions that hurt or offend their fans/viewers and society as a whole.
Major League Baseball is run by the owners of its teams. They hire people like ‘commissioners,’ ‘presidents of baseball operations’ and ‘general managers’ to represent them and run their teams. They in turn hire players.
So why can’t Major League Baseball apologize? Why can’t Brian Cashman accept that he is a part of baseball’s bureaucracy, and that the responsibility is not solely on the players?
Fans are upset with the players and baseball itself. They know there is culpability in the players who used the drugs, the owners’ complacency and profiting from them, and the players union’s blatant obstruction of baseball’s steroid policy. If the commissioner apologized to the fans for this big mess, he would be doing so as a representative of Major League Baseball, not as someone taking blame directly.
The fans deserve something. After all, there would be nothing without them.