By Marc Isenberg
Yankee Jason Giambi faces a 50-game suspension for telling the truth about steroids.
month Giambi told USA Today, "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.'"
Not a shocking revelation by Giambi, but it was nice to hear someone involved in the whole steroid controversy speak directly in the light of day, rather than hear from alleged uses in staged Congressional hearings or in leaked grand jury testimony. Most gave Giambi an attaboy for his admission, but not MLB. To them this was their Al Capone moment.
Selig has "ordered Giambi to meet with Sen. George Mitchell,, the chairman of baseball's steroid investigation, within two weeks and said he would defer imposing discipline until then."
MLB can't catch guys red handed so they take after the only "alleged" truthteller. Selig wants Giambi to literally take one for the team -- actually the owners. Giambi can talk to Senator George Mitchell in a confidential forum with full immunity. Anyone want to bet money that the testimony gets leaked?
What kind of messed up world do we live in when the truth has more consequences than outright lies and deception. In the bizarro world of Major League Baseball, the truth can lead to 50-game suspensions. (And in the military, the truth can kill. The military recently discharged 58 gay (not that it matters) Arabic language experts under "Don't ask, don't tell.")
David Zirin wrote on Giambi two weeks ago, but it's even more relevant today now that Selig has made his strong-arm tactics known. Some highlights:
[Giambi's] statement last week constitutes the most honest and interesting talk in two years--ever since the anabolic institution of Major League Baseball was born again as straight-edge.
Tim Keown, in a moment of sanity, wrote on ESPN.com, "If Major League Baseball attempts to get punitive with Jason Giambi for his tacit but not explicit admission that he used steroids, it will constitute a new level of hypocrisy. And if baseball's investigation gives the Yankees the shield they need to attempt to void Giambi's contract, it will constitute a new new level of hypocrisy... Baseball, the entity that closed its eyes and counted its money for years and years while extolling the virtues of the artificial long ball, is now threatening to come down hard on the one guy who might provide a sliver of salvation to the whole episode."
Often I am asked why athletes don't speak out more on issues of the day. Here is another example of how the athletic industrial complex hammers those who step out of the shadow of cliches, who actually have something to say.