Monday, December 17, 2007

Andy Pettitte: Not Exactly Apologetic

If you're upset with Andy Pettitte's illegal drug use, he could really give a shit.

I like Andy Pettitte so I was sad to see that he used HGH and was named in the Mitchell Report. He seems like a reasonably good guy and given that we can pretty much assume that anyone who's played a sport in the last 20 years or so was up to something no good, that's the standard by which I judge professional athletes these days. Reasonably good guy, you're ok in book. It's because of that good guy persona that it's easy to forgive Pettitte for fucking around with HGH. But with that "good guy" persona comes a responsibility for showing contrition. That's where Andy went a little awry. You see good guys usually admit to doing wrong and then apologize and move on. Pettitte got half of it right by admitting to using HGH then went ahead and accepted absolutely no responsibility for any of it. Good guy my ass:
"In 2002 I was injured. I had heard that human growth hormone could promote faster healing for my elbow. I felt an obligation to get back to my team as soon as possible. For this reason, and only this reason, for two days I tried human growth hormone. Though it was not against baseball rules, I was not comfortable with what I was doing, so I stopped. This is it - two days out of my life; two days out of my entire career, when I was injured and on the disabled list.

If what I did was an error in judgment on my part, I apologize. I accept responsibility for those two days. Everything else written or said about me knowingly using illegal drugs is nonsense, wrong and hurtful. I have the utmost respect for baseball and have always tried to live my life in a way that would be honorable. I wasn't looking for an edge; I was looking to heal."
If what you did was an error in judgment? Are you fucking kidding me? What this suggests is that Andy doesn't believe it's an error in judgment. What's amazing about this is that he contradicts this feeling later in the statement when he suggests that he wasn't comfortable with using this illegal treatment which is why he stopped. So he's not sure if it was an error in judgment, but he thought it sketchy enough to stop it. That seems awfully disingenuous. But what really gets me is the "two days" part.

Again, you'll be hard pressed to find a person who knows Pettitte who doesn't think he's a decent human being, but what the fuck does that prove exactly? He says that 2 days shouldn't define him or take away from what has been an upstanding life led and career had. Shoeless Joe Jackson had a bad couple of days back in 1920, and his reputation was sullied for life and he is out of the Hall of Fame. Jayson Williams got drunk and swung a gun around, fucking up a pretty solid reputation (not to mention the lives of the guy he killed). Kobe bent over a chick in a hotel, ruining an otherwise great reputation. OJ had one bad day in 1994, people view him a little differently. Now of course I'm not equating HGH use to murder or manslaughter or any of that shit, but our entire criminal justice system is setup to so that one bad day could mean you get to spend a good portion of your life trying to remain an anal virgin. And the standard is even lower in the court of public opinion. Mere accusations ruin your life for good in that court. So the idea that these two days out of his career shouldn't besmirch his reputation is laughable. In terms of degrees, he's not as bad as Clemens or Bonds or Canseco, but whatever the damage to his reputation, he fucking earned it.

And lastly, don't give me this bullshit about there being some difference in the moral significance of using drugs to "gain an edge" or to treat an injury to help your team. He makes it sound like he wasn't being selfish. That it was somehow for the greater good. Why does that matter? What is the difference between Bonds juicing to hit balls farther and get his team to the World Series and Pettitte using illegal drugs to heal faster and help his team? Sure Bonds is more selfish than Pettitte, but that doesn't means Pettitte wasn't acting selfishly himself. If Andy didn't use the drugs, he might not have been able to come back. We'll never know how quickly he could have recovered naturally. But the actual effect doesn't even matter. We don't know how many of Bonds' home runs he would have hit without the roids either. What we do know is that Pettitte cheated by using illegal drugs and he knew it was wrong when he was doing it. That he can justify it by saying he was trying to help the team is a fine motive and more commendable than had he said he was doing it to become the best player ever, but that doesn't make it right. It's merely another in the long list of justifications people use to explain their bad behavior. It's like the thief who says he was only stealing to feed his family. That may help Andy sleep at night, but the guy who steals to feed his family is a thief in the same way as a guy who does it for shits and giggles. And the guy who uses illegal drugs to heal faster is cheat in the same way a guy who uses them to hit the ball farther.

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