Discussion

Somebody take responsibility already

Updated: February 12, 2009, 3:01 PM ET
By Buster Olney
An official who has been in baseball a long time sounded really tired Wednesday morning. He was really down. He had a serious case of the Steroids Era Blues, because he believes the issue will continue to hang over the sport, and that the same questions and the same issues will be rehashed day after day after day.

Look on the bright side, I told him. Think about the incredible creativity we are seeing every single day in the sport.

He perked up. "What do you mean?"

Just look at all the new and different ways, I explained, in which we see how people don't take responsibility.

He groaned. And that was before he learned how the Miguel Tejada court appearance played out.

At the end of the day, Tejada offered an apology through tears. Let's be clear about this: A lot of folks who play with Tejada talk about what a great teammate he is and what a positive influence he is.

But what Tejada continues to maintain is that while he acknowledges lying about whether he knew teammates took steroids, he himself did not use them.

That $6,300 check written out to teammate Adam Piatt for performance-enhancing substances? Yes, it is his. But Tejada says that after he got the stuff, he threw it out.

That's his story, and he's sticking to it.

Alex Rodriguez admirably decided to acknowledge his use of "banned substances" the other day.

Midway through that interview with ESPN's Peter Gammons, he addressed the question of why he lied to Katie Couric in a 2007 interview. From Monday's interview transcript:

    PETER GAMMONS: Now, you mentioned the Katie Couric interview. You were asked if you ever used steroids, human growth hormones or other performance-enhancing substances. You said no, flat-out no. In your mind, that wasn't a lie?

    ALEX RODRIGUEZ: At the time, Peter, I wasn't even being truthful with myself. How am I going to be truthful with Katie or CBS? Today, I'm here to tell the truth, and I feel good about that.

But when asked about what he took and where he got it, A-Rod drew a blank.

That's his story, and he's sticking to it.

I mean, really: Could someone stand up and offer an unvarnished truth? Could someone please be fully credible and open and offer a complete version? Or are we going to see, day after day after day, these carefully crafted apologies, designed to tackle a public relations problem but really having nothing to do with honesty.

The culture of rampant drug use that Rodriguez spoke of in his interview apparently has changed to some degree. But that does not mean the sport is on its way to real change, because that won't happen until another part of the baseball culture changes: the easy, comfortable conveyance of half-truths and half-lies.

We still are waiting to hear from a rock-solid first-ballot Hall of Famer why he chose to take steroids, what he took, where he got them (and he doesn't have to give up names in doing that). We still are waiting to hear from the leaders of the sport precisely what mistakes they made and when they made them -- something beyond a general and weak "Mistakes were made."

Until that happens, nothing will really improve. Until honesty becomes the standard, the sport will just keep lying to itself.

ESPN TOP HEADLINES

MOST SENT STORIES ON ESPN.COM