It may be true that “cheaters never prosper,” but in sports this week, they did gain a little ground.
Now, to no surprise, none of Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire or Sammy Sosa even came close to being voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. All have confirmed or alleged use of steroids to thank. (Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, Jon Smoltz and Craig Biggio did get the nods.)
And in the world of mixed martial arts, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, crowned just last Saturday with a unanimous win over nemesis Daniel Cormier (even their press conferences become octagons), tested positive for cocaine metabolites and entered rehab.
On the other hand, a baseball signed by six of the eight players involved in the 1919 Black Sox cheating scandal, most notably “Shoeless” Joe Jackson, will go on the auction block beginning Monday for a $100,000 starting price, along with two other items from what may be the most famous gambling gambits of all time: during the 1919 World Series between the Chicago White Sox and the Cincinnati Reds, eight White Sox players were accused of losing games intentionally for money from gamblers. Although they were acquitted in court, all eight were banned from baseball for life. Their story was the inspiration for a number of books and movies, particularly Field of Dreams.
And finally, the brash-talking, muscle-flexing, mullet-wearing 80s football sensation Brian “The Boz” Bosworth was selected for the College Football Hall of Fame, despite admitted performance-enhancing drug use and an NFL career that was at best injury-riddled and at worst, one of the sport’s biggest flops. Former Ohio State coach Jim Tressel, currently serving a five-year NCAA penalty for failing to report players’ impermissible benefits, was also allowed in. (Ohio State seems to have recovered, too; they play Oregon for the national title Monday night.)
So what’s the moral? Cheaters have a chance? Football is more forgiving? I don’t know. Mullets eventually grow. Maybe character can too.