Belichick vs Clemens

Considering that I have written so many blog entries on steroids that I had to give it its own category, you’d think I’d be all over today’s Clemens-McNamee hearing.

But alas, I no longer have the energy. Just watching it makes makes me uncomfortable. I had to turn it off after about 30 seconds. I don’t care if Clemens did indeed bleed through his pants. I don’t care if McNamee lied about Clemens being at a party. I don’t particularly trust either one of them.

So instead, I’ve been thinking about a debate I had over the weekend: what is a greater crime against the competitiveness of sports, filming another team’s practice, like (allegedly) Bill Belichick and the Pats, or taking steroids, like “MLB Player whoever.”

One of the arguments presented to me was that it had to be steroids because they’re illegal where as the filming is not. To me, the legality of it doesn’t matter. What’s worse, lying to your best friend or significant other or going 60 in a 55? Speeding is illegal and last I checked, lying isn’t (as long as you’re not under oath). But I wouldn’t say speeding is worse.

Filming another team’s practice gives a team a much more serious advantage than steroids because it is relative to a team, not to a player.

Let’s take a look at 2 teams in question: the 2001 New England Patriots and the 2000 New York Yankees.

The Yankees almost certainly had players on their team that used steroids at some point. However, likely so did every other team. The Yankees evaluated talent on the basis of how they did on the field and put together the best team they could. While some of the players may have gotten there through unfair means, this is really an advantage over other players who could have taken their place, not other teams. The Yankees weren’t simply giving their players steroids once they became Yankees while no other team did.

The Patriots on the other hand, if allegations are true, filmed and studied the plays the St. Louis Rams would be running in the Super Bowl. The entire team knew what would happen and no one on St. Louis had any similar advantage.

I would think the outcome of that game was decided by cheating more than steroids can ever effect the outcome of a game.

So, in that light, perhaps it is reasonable that if we have to watch Clemens and McNamee sit in front of Congress, we should also see Goodell, Belichick, and company do the same.


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