Ex-jock Jack Clark provided a convoluted tale of hearsay about Albert Pujols using steroids when he was with the Cardinals organization. Clark did this on his new St. Louis-area sports talk radio show. Albert Pujols vociferously denied these allegations and announced pending litigation against Clark and those associated with his show, including the radio station. Clark and his co-host were quickly fired, nine days after the show's debut.
Chances are, if you are reading and commenting on a baseball blog, you are smarter than the players your are reading about. It might not be nice to say, but in light of this recent media kerfuffle, it really should be said: more than half of the players you are rooting for are dumber than you and most of you friends. The occasional snarky tweeter among the professional athletes you admire is an outlier on the bell curve from Trivial Pursuit hell.
Smart people do dumb things once in a while. Dumb people do them all the time. A sizable percentage of sports coverage is, inherently, the coverage of dumb things done by dumb jocks... off and on the field.
Many "shock jocks" have tried and succeeded in stoking controversy on the airwaves with vitriol that danced on the cliff-edge of slander. None of them have been dumb jocks. People of wit and intellect know how to get a rise our of everyone without crossing legal and ethical lines. It is a talent, honed by people with intellect. Jack Clark is obviously not one of them.
Many steroid users passionately deny that they have used banned substances. From Rafael Palmeiro insisting he was clean to congress to Ryan Braun's strident stoking of the coals of victimization, the cheaters who get caught don't always 'fess up. So when Albert Pujols tells us from the bottom of his heart that he is clean, the track record of deniers is far from spotless. But smart or dumb, Albert's choices were limited. It was say nothing or go to battle. If he is, in fact, clean, Pujols did the smart thing. But now it is time to go further.
The smart thing for Pujols to do now would be to sue. Not to win money and not to torture Jack Clark. That is not the reason that Albert Pujols should pursue a slander suit against the involved parties. But to prove that vehement denial is, in fact, the weapon of the truth-teller. Everyone now is guilty until proven innocent. But all it will take is for one innocent man to prove his innocence, to draw legal blood, to protect all of the innocents.
It is time to shut up the begrudgers. The future of honest dumb jocks depends on it.