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Tuesday, March 15, 2005
Updated: March 18, 12:22 PM ET
The hypocrite's steroid guide

By Jim Caple
Page 2

As President of the United States, you single out steroid users in your State of the Union Address and direct the attorney general to prosecute them. As owner of the Texas Rangers, you traded for the player who describes himself as the Grandfather of Steroids and paid him $10 million.

You're a U.S. representative who subpoenas players to testify before Congress about possible steroid use because it's a "national health issue,'' while you also oversee billion-dollar subsidies to tobacco growers.

You're a governor who served as a national spokesman for the President's Council on Physical Fitness. But you not only used steroids to begin your career, you still sponsor an annual body-building tournament that is littered with steroid users.

You're a baseball owner who condemns ballplayers for taking steroids, but you accepted $90 million to put a brewery's name on your stadium.

You're the head of the Players Association and you profess to care about protecting the players' health and image, while you also drag your heels over the most modest of steroid tests.

You're a doctor who preaches about the health risks posed by steroids, but you don't think twice before injecting cortisone and Marcaine into a player and sending him onto the field.

Arnold Schwarzenegger
Ummm, Arnold? It's called a "mixed message."
You're a 24-hour sports network that shakes its head at Barry Bonds, while you assign a reporter to cover his exploits on a daily basis.

You're a sports magazine that frequently attacks Bonds on the suspicion that he might have used steroids, but you've also run stories lionizing Bill Romanowski for his workout "regimen'' and you still gush over how big and strong players in the NFL are.

You're a columnist who frequently holds up the NFL as a shining example of a league with a strict drug-testing policy, even though your own eyes tell you that the policy has done little to keep performance enhancers out of a sport where the players grow bigger, stronger and faster every season.

You're a talk-show host who expresses "concern'' about the possible long-term health effects of steroid use among baseball players, but you don't care a whit about the proven short-term hazards and likely long-term hazards that are a normal part of playing professional football.

You're a beat writer who jokes about how much smaller some players look this spring, while at the same time you complain that baseball's steroid policy doesn't have any effect.

You're a parent who moans about the influence steroid-using players have on children, but you also smoke and regularly biggie-size the order when you take the kids out for a meal.

You're a fantasy leaguer who chants "Steroids! Steroids!'' at a player when he runs onto the field, even though he was your first pick in your annual draft.

You're a purist who claims recent record performances deserve an asterisk because they were set during the "tainted'' era of steroids – unlike the untarnished, old players who set their records when African-Americans and Latinos were banned from baseball.

You're a fan who thought it was great for baseball when Mark McGwire broke the home run record while using andro (now banned by baseball), but you consider it a scandal that Barry Bonds broke that record while possibly using steroids.

You're a New Yorker who cheered Gary Sheffield (who says he "accidentally'' used steroids) for being a gutsy, dedicated player when he hit .290 with 36 home runs and 121 RBI last year, but you bashed Jason Giambi when he hit .208 with 12 home runs and 40 RBI because he got what he deserved for using steroids.

You're angered by a player who is suspected of using steroids during a great season, and you're also angered by the same player when he is suspected of quitting steroids during a bad season.

Jim Caple is a senior writer at ESPN.com. His first book, "The Devil Wears Pinstripes," is being published by Plume. It can be ordered through his Web site, Jimcaple.com.