Marvin Miller Stars In His Production Of “Ignorance Is Bliss”

Let’s get this out of the way now.  This post has nothing to do with whether or not steroids in sports are an issue that should be front and center.  This post isn’t to debate the government’s role in regulating their use, or whether or not athletes get an unfair advantage by using them.  There’s a whole range of thoughts in America on those subjects, and to some extent, they’re a dead horse I don’t feel like beating — at least, not right now.

I’m more intersted tonight on a gem today by former Union head Marvin Miller, where he announces his belief that “there’s not one single documented death from the use of steroids”.

Really?

Maybe there hasn’t been a baseball death yet, but a quick look at the roll call in the past decade of dead wrestlers — participants in an activity that has seen rampant abuse of steroids over the years — would seem to suggest otherwise.  This outstanding article from Gwen Knapp, a San Francisco Chronicle reporter, suggests that we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg so far as deaths in sports with steroids as a factor go, and that before long, football and baseball may be catching up with wrestling in their own macabre version of the dead pool.

Miller was quick to do whatever anyone else does when they’re trying to advance their own failing, ignorant argument — they change the subject, which he did deftly in bringing tobacco into the discussion.  His mentioning the numbers of tobacco-related deaths a year and Congress’ endorsement of the big business of tobacco was supposed to somehow make us shift our eyes off of the steroid debate, but Miller’s self-serving diatribe should only highlight a couple of truths that he’d like you all to forget.  Yes, tobacco is a dangerous substance, but rather than sticking our heads in the sand and ignoring the evidence that has been complied over the years as to its danger, our society has made certain that everyone is aware fully of those dangers — something Miller is clearly unwilling to be a party to so far as steroids go.

Also, Miller would like you to ignore the fact that, as union head, it was his responsibility to work towards the safeguarding of all facets of life of the players he represented — not just monetary and privacy concerns, but health and safety concerns as well.  But rather than educate his rank and file, or take the steps necessary to try and eliminate the presence of steroids and other dangerous, performance-enhancers in his sport, like all of the other power-brokers in baseball, Miller did next to nothing — so long as salaries continued to increase and the checks kept rolling in, the status quo was fine.

I call that negligent behavior, irresponsible at best and — if, during his time as union head, Miller was ever given access to studies showing the physical dangers players who used performance-enhancers faced — criminal at worst.  There’s a faction of baseball people who’d like to see Miller elected to the Hall of Fame someday — if that sad event ever takes place, I can only wonder how many prematurely-dead corpses he’d have walked over to get there.

Some excellent pieces on the effects of steroids can be found here and here.  Don’t bother forwarding them on to Miller — I’m sure he wouldn’t be interested.

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