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Monday, August 01, 2005

Palmeiro Echoes Life

I know that few of you probably care about baseball, and even less about the Baltimore Orioles. However, I decided to post this for three reasons:

a) More people care about the Orioles than care about the entire NHL combined, so it does have an audience.
b) Palmeiro had a great career with my Texas Rangers.
c) I see eerie similarity to situations in life.

Basically, I see four scenarios for the entire situation (if I'm leaving one out, comment and let me know):

Palmeiro is telling the truth. He has never knowingly taken steroids in his life. Someone either slipped the drug into his protein shake, or he trusted someone he shouldn't have. Ironically, he spoke against the usage of steroids while they were unknowingly running through his veins. During the news conference, Palmeiro shared that the arbitrator understood his case, but was still obligated to impose the 10 game suspension. Why wouldn't he? Explain to me where the Collective Bargaining Agreement mentioned intent. Better yet, explain to me how someone can possibly rule about the intent. Isn't it God alone the One who knows the heart (I Sam 16:7)? Like so many others, Palmiero thinks his "accidental violation" shouldn't be seen as a violation, despite the fact that he failed the test.

Palmeiro was tempted by all the steroid discussion. He honestly never took any before. But after hearing all the murmurs, and seeing his career begin to decline, he decided it may be time to look into this steroid thing. He called out all who use steroids before congress, but then found himself giving into the temptation. Though this issue is spoken of in Galatians 6 (humbly confront a brother or you too may fall to the same sin), I see this as highly unlikely for this situation. Testing and accountability were at an all time high. This just doesn't seem likely.

Palmeiro thinks the world is full of morons (he may have a point!). All along he has used illegal substances to enhance his performance. He thought wearing a nice suit before congress and speaking very intelligently about the issue would fake everyone out. He is now in the mode where he will confess what is known and no more. "I have never taken steroids," is Palmeiro's initial statement. Once the test brings out that isn't the case, "I have never KNOWINGLY taken steroids," became Palmeiro's next statement. If at sometime a tape or witness comes forward to speak that he has proof that Palmeiro knew what he was taking, we can expect his defense to be, "I have never KNOWINGLY taken steroids other than THAT ONE TIME." He is in control mode. He is simply looking to save his reputation, and foolishly, many people will fall for it.

But there is one more option I see; one that is far more frightening to me. It's not so much about Palmeiro deceiving Major League Baseball, deceiving the media, or even his deception of the American public. It's about Rafael deceiving himself. In the Age of Existentialism, words can mean whatever you want. Palmeiro justified his substance use by "not really knowing what he was taking." The label on the bottle, or the man who sold it to him, used gigantic words (none of which was actually the word steroid). As he sat before congress, he tells them he has never taken a steroid because he can never think of a time that a needle stuck out of his posterior with the word "steroid" etched on it. Though he violates the rules, he imagines everyone else at the panel discussion is more guilty than he. He then can than say he didn't know that's what he taking, because he has convinced himself that he doesn't know. It's scary how we are often the easiest person to deceive.

Without accountability (true accountability), we will find ourselves caught in our own deception.

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