PEDs: Props to Nick Markakis and Chris Davis, My Favorite Orioles
–Richard E. Vatz
For all, I believe, of my adult life I have had a bitter contempt for “nice guys” (referring to both sexes here) who never would stand up to evil or never speak out when they witnessed unfair/terrible actions being committed, even though they would never initiate such actions themselves. It may have begun when I read as a young man about all of those who refused to act or say a discouraging word against the ultimate evil in the Holocaust, even though they knew quite well that millions of innocent men, women and children were being slaughtered for the crime of being Jewish. My greatest contempt was for those who had the power to do so but found it was less taxing just to “go along,” even when indefensible despicable acts were taking place.
There is a multitude of examples from a wealth of environments I could cite here. Instead, I want to focus on some recent rhetorical bravery: the gutsy castigating of Major League Baseball players who cheat with steroids.
Let me just take the opportunity to congratulate two young men of the Baltimore Orioles for their fearless honesty, Nick Markakis and Chris Davis. There are always informal penalties in pointing out nefarious behavior.
Courageously, Mr. Markakis said unambiguously that there should be a “first time” penalty of a five-year suspension for those who use performance-enhancing drugs, and he would support a lifetime ban if Major League Baseball and the players’ union supported it (see excellent detailed article on Markakis by Dan Connolly, The Baltimore Sun). Markakis analogized the taking of such drugs by professional athletes to robbing a convenience store.
Second only to Markakis is Mr. Davis, who has been suspected himself with no evidence whatsoever of using steroids to enhance his power, and he has done more than deny such baseless charges. He has stated that the home run records of PEDs users are illegitimate and bogus and should simply not be counted as records.
As with all of those who point out cheaters, there are some who will accuse them of “snitching” or want to punish them for taking politically incorrect positions.
That is what cheaters and other evil people rely on: the negative consequences of revealing wrongdoing. And until recently there has been in baseball a conspiracy of silence which has validated much of the fraudulent great offensive production and hurt the careers of those who play the game honestly.
For a time now, all of my e-mails have contained this sentiment after the address line: “All that is necessary for evil to persist is for non-evil people to do nothing to interfere with a predominantly evil sociology. That is why evil leadership is rarely removed in the short term (Vatzian emendation of apocryphal quote).”
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As my friend, the late Thomas Szasz, used to say, “Yes, but very few people speak out because to do so takes guts.”
What a joy is it to know that my beloved Orioles have (at least) two men of great integrity who have Tom Szasz’s “guts.”
Professor Vatz teaches Persuasion at Towson University and is the author of The Only Authentic Book of Persuasion (Kendall Hunt, 2012, 2013)