Dan Shaughnessy is at it again. The long-time Boston Globe columnist posted an article on Wednesday entitled "David Ortiz rejects talk of steroid use." I'm sure you can see where this one is heading already. In the article, Shaughnessy not so subtlely says that Ortiz is taking steroids (with only a 2009 New York Times column stating Ortiz tested positive in 2003 as any link with him to PEDs). The entire column is really just a massive hit piece on Ortiz for playing out of his mind to start the year, but it really can all be summed up in the first paragraph.
Hitting is not this easy. Athletes do not get better as they mature into their late 30s. Baseball has been peppered with performance-enhancing drugs for the last 20 years. The cheaters are always ahead of the testers. A number of players from the Dominican Republic have tested positive for steroids. Injuries to the Achilles’ tendon are consistent with steroid use. It is not natural for a guy to hit .426 out of the gate without the benefit of any spring training.
There's a lot that's wrong with this first paragraph of his article. There's not even a sense of schaudenfreude like there was two Septembers ago, when Shaughnessy boldly predicted that the Rays wouldn't come back from a 7-0 deficit against the Yankees (they did) and that the Red Sox season wouldn't end that evening in Baltimore (it did). But anyway, how is it at all responsible for a major media personality like Shaughnessy to lob grenades like this with no repercussions? If instead of steroids, Shaughnessy accused Ortiz of abusing illegal drugs, I'm sure there would be *a lot* more backlash towards him from editors and fellow writers, as opposed to essentially just shrugging it off because he's tied to steroids instead of something with actual real world consequences.
The painting of all Dominican players as steroid abusers is also pretty crass from Shaughnessy. It reminds me of nearly all mainstream media outlets painting all Muslims as terrorists. For the record, of the 67 MLB players suspended for PEDs, more Americans (29) were suspended than Dominicans (20). Rampant racial profiling from a columnist at one of the largest newspapers in the country? I'LL ALLOW IT!
Remember: this is the same guy that went on a tirade about bloggers and the internet for human cruelty back in October. And now, he's bashing the hell out of Ortiz, a Red Sox icon who has always pounded the hell out of the ball when he's healthy. To his credit, Ortiz didn't hold back on Shaughnessy and simply let this column slide off his shoulders.
"Yesterday, the guy came to see me and asked some questions about steroids, and when you see the writing, it basically focuses on the fact that I'm Dominican and that many Dominicans have been caught using steroids. And what about the Americans?" Ortiz said.
"If you're from the Middle East, because there are some people there who put bombs and terrorize civilians, I have to see you like that, as well? If you are a white American, I have to call you a racist because white Americans were in the Ku Klux Klan?
"The thing that stung me was his statement about Dominicans. You mean that in Dominican Republic there are no players who try to do things right? We are all in the same boat. And the people here who have been caught, does that put everyone here in the same boat?"
The double standard in journalism is still alive and well.