hgh

The most unfair part of it all

As the HGH and steroid and Hall of Fame continues, I’m reminded of who, ultimately, gets dicked the most.

Answer: Fan supporters.

By “fan supporters,” I mean those loyalists who stand behind an athlete who has been (rightly, as it turns out) accused of cheating. In the aftermath of “Love Me, Hate Me,” my biography of Barry Bonds, tons upon tons of Giants die-hards slammed me, ripped me, attacked me for the audacity of suggesting their hero cheated. Then, it turned out, he cheated.

Silence from the masses.

I wrote two CNN.com columns in 2012 on Lance Armstrong, and how it was crystal clear that he was completely full of crud. Man, the letters I received. Who the fuck do you think you are? What gives you the right? You’re just a hater. Then, of course, enough came out to prove Armstrong’s true self.

Silence from the masses.

As more and more PED-era ballplayers talk; as more feel comfortable using their names behind their secrets, the pattern will, I believe, repeat itself. Inevitably, the angry Mike Piazza defenders—convinced their hero is being targeted out of jealousy by a bunch of pencil-necked geek writers—will be hit with enough knowledge that his accomplishments will be, rightly, reduced. Inevitably, furious Jeff Bagwell backers—certain that he was a natural, clean, whole milk-and-steak-consuming mountain of a ballplayer—will see that milk and steak only go so far.

Silence will follow.

The thing is, I take no comfort in that silence. Professional athletes don’t exist without fans. Hell, if no one watches the games, no one pays the salaries, no one cares. That’s why it infuriates me how Bonds, and Armstrong, and Mark McGwire, and Sammy Sosa—convinced fans of their innocence and pureness … then yanked the rug away. It’s not merely selfish; it’s friggin’ mean. Whether you’re a child or an adult, few things are worse than finding out that you put your love behind a scoundrel.

I know—back in 2008, my presidential candidate of choice was John Edwards, the former North Carolina senator with the people’s touch. I believed Edwards was the best man; the right man; the perfect man to serve in the highest office.

Then—yank!

It was all a lie.