David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez, Alex Rodriguez, Roger Clemens, Bernard Kohl, Shane Merriman, Rodney Harrison and the rest of the athletes who have failed drug tests are guilty of “Athletic Plagiarism.”

Athletic Plagiarism is when an athlete uses illegal/banned/designer performance-enhancing drugs (PED), or any legitimate drug in an illegitimate way.  The definition of plagiarism is, “the unauthorized use or close imitation of the language and thoughts of another author and the representation of them as one’s own original work.”

In academia, journalism and the world of publishing, plagiarism is the ultimate sin.  Plagiarists get thrown out of school, lose their jobs, credibility and any awards that they may have won as a result of this form of cheating.

Athletes who use PEDs are guilty of the same sin and should be treated similarly.

Roger Clemens’ drug use allowed him to garner headlines, win awards and be considered by some to not only be the greatest pitcher of the generation, but of all time.  He redefined the idea of a power pitcher and a dominant pitcher. But Clemens’ performance and his 354 wins are an illusion. Plagiarism.

He used drugs to give him what others have done naturally.  He got the credit that others truly deserved.  His performance set the standard, but this performance was based on unauthorized use of drugs and portrayed as being the result of his hard work and natural gifts. The accomplishments of all other pitchers – contemporaries like Greg Maddux (355 wins) and those from the past – were relegated to the shadows of “the PED Rocket.”

Clemens became the pitcher to which all other pitchers were compared.  Until we know better Greg Maddux should be recognized as the greatest pitcher of this generation, and perhaps of all-time, for if he doesn’t get ensnared in this scandal he will have excelled against PED users.  But that’s a different argument for a different time.

Hitters like Bonds, Ramirez, McGwire, Canseco and a litany of other drug cheats not only reaped rewards and stole the thunder of other players, their successes no doubt encouraged other players to plagiarize via PEDS. These players changed the course of the game the way Clemens changed the way pitchers were evaluated.

Power was in; speed, agility and fundamentals were out.  “Small-ball’ took a backseat to the long ball, and guys like Craig Biggio, Will Clark, and other guys who hit 15-30 home runs naturally lost money, fame and roster spots to these athletic plagiarists.

The argument used by the defenders of Clemens, A Rod, Manny and the other cheaters that these players were great without steroids and should still be in the Hall of Fame, is specious. Anyone who supports and forwards the idea that an athletes’ plagiarism – and its effects – is isolated or limited to a few months/handful of games cannot be taken seriously.

This argument/defense is as ridiculous as that of the person who gets caught cheating on a test and says, “But I only cheated on question 13, I did the rest myself!” With every at-bat and every pitch thrown these players – and the others that haven’t been named/caught, but that exist – affected the outcomes of games, pennant races, the evolution of the way the game is played, the salary structure, the entire financial structure of sports and adversely affected the integrity of the game in a manner far worse than Pete Rose’s gambling ever did.

And we all know his story.Drug cheats/athletic plagiarists put their personal pursuits ahead of everything that they should have respected, and as a result disrespect their profession, the world of sport, their peers and predecessors who didn’t cheat, and took credit for work that wasn’t theirs.


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