Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Yankees' Ban of Reggie Jackson is Ridiculous

Reggie Jackson will forever be known to baseball fans as "Mr. October" but his current official title is Special Advisor to the Senior Managing Partners of the Yankees; in that capacity he fills a variety of roles, including giving hitting advice to young players and meeting with the team's current and/or potential business partners. Jackson will not be dispensing tips or shaking any hands for at least a little while, though; Jackson recently made some candid--and quite correct--criticisms of steroid cheater Alex Rodriguez and the Yankees responded not by taking a principled stand but rather by punishing Jackson.

It is disgraceful that Major League Baseball--under the "leadership" of Commissioner Bud Selig--turned a blind eye and deaf ear while players broke federal laws, cheated in a manner that cost honest players a shot at playing professional ball and turned the sport's record book into a farce. Cheaters like Rodriguez should be banned from the sport, not lauded--and it is ridiculous that Mark McGwire has been brought back into the MLB fold as a hitting instructor.

The Yankees are ostracizing Jackson for these remarks about Alex Rodriguez, Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro and Sammy Sosa, five players linked to performance-enhancing drug (PED) use who passed Jackson on the all-time home run list:

"I don't think the fans really count them, and I agree. I believe that Hank Aaron is the home run king, not Barry Bonds, as great a player as Bonds was." Jackson said of Rodriguez, "Al's a very good friend. But I think there are real questions about his numbers. As much as I like him, what he admitted about his usage does cloud some of his records."

If Selig had any, shall we say, intestinal fortitude, he would have made sure that MLB effectively dealt with the PED issue long before Rodriguez and the others defaced the record book with their tainted names. Rodriguez and the rest of the cheaters should be on the outside of the sport looking in but, instead, Selig will likely do nothing while the sport's flagship franchise exiles one of its greatest players.

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