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“Everybody makes mistakes”

January 19, 2010

That was how St. Louis slugger Albert Pujols attempted to end any questions or further inquiries into fellow baseball star Mark McGuire‘s recent admission that he used steroids, even while he was setting the new record for homeruns.

St. Louis Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols (AP photo)

Acording to the Associated Press, Pujols bristled when asked whether he thought McGuire’s admission was an attempt to boost his prospects for becoming part of  the baseball Hall of Fame. Pujols said, “Go talk to Mark, I think he cleared up everything, he closed the doors.”

The line reminded me of former Kentucky Association of Counties Executive Director Bob Arnold‘s statement following revelations of excessive spending by him and his top administrators. The Lexington Herald-Leader had detailed hundreds of thousands of dollars in questionable and undocumented expenses by Arnold and fellow KACo employees and officials over several years.

Arnold was speaking at the the Kentucky County Judge-Executive Association and Kentucky Magistrates and Commissioners Association summer conference and making his first statement about the allegations when he said – “We can’t change it. Get over it. Quit dwelling on it.”

Of course, the public didn’t get over it, nor did the state auditor, who ordered an examination of KACo’s spending practices. Arnold has since resigned, and the completed audit revealed even more egregious abuses by Arnold and his cohorts.

The public had legitimate questions about KACo’s use of public dollars, just as they want to know more about McGuire’s use of steroids and the impact it had on his play, and on Major League Baseball as a whole. Essentially telling the public to get over it doesn’t, and shouldn’t, end the matter.

Pujols also rejected questions about McGuire based on the fact that there are more serious events and issues going on in the world, and that McGuire’s use of steroids doesn’t merit the attention of the press or the public.

“There’s 300,000 people that just died in Haiti and you guys (the press) just want to concentrate on Mark McGuire. Come on, give me a break,” Pujols told reporters, according to the AP.

By that logic, why should the press or the public ever pay attention to professional sports, given the tragedy that makes up daily life on this planet? There wasn’t the same cry for sanity when the press was devoting so much time to McGuire’s pursuit of the homerun record, though there was surely no shortage of more serious stories detailing the human plight that warranted more coverage.

Pujols, and his fellow professional athletes, should agree to set aside the coming MLB season and each one following, as well as their multimillion dollar salaries, until suffering and tragedy are no more. He makes a good point – why should the public waste time paying attention to such trivial things as ego-centric professional baseball players?

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