Yesterday on Twitter, Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated wrote the following:
many bloggers are great, but ibanez has a point about unfounded PED speculation. it’s garbage. #phillies
So Heyman thinks, like many others, that bloggers should not speculate on the use of Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs) without evidence. Certainly Heyman must think the same rules apply to the mainstream media, right?
In June of 2007, Heyman wrote the following for SI.com about whether he will vote for Sammy Sosa to enter the Hall-of-Fame. And let us remind you, that no matter what you think of Sosa, there has never been any evidence linking Sosa to steroids.
Did [Sosa] use steroids when he hit his 66 home runs in the summer of 1998? Is he getting some sort of outside help now that he’s back to being a power hitter for the Texas Rangers? Tough call.
Sure sounds like Heyman is speculating to us. And why is it a “tough call” for Heyman?
Then when Sosa was called upon to speak (before Congress), he struggled to find English words. I know Sosa’s English is better than it seemed that day. But maybe he was nervous. Can I know for sure?
If faking poor English is a sign of steroid use, then half the 2007 Mets roster was juicing. Let’s continue…
No one has ever had the goods on Sosa. No one has ever said he failed a test. Unlike Barry Bonds, Jason Giambi and Gary Sheffield, he never bought from BALCO. I can assume the worst. But I’m not sure that’s fair.
No Jon, it is not fair. And according to your Twitter account, it is “garbage.” Now the big finish…
And unlike McGwire, Sosa has returned to play and thrive after baseball instituted steroid testing. The testing is imperfect, and Sosa is, too. Maybe he’s just as guilty as McGwire. But how am I going to know that for sure? Am I going to be able to count assumption and innuendo against Sosa? Am I going to assume the worst? Tough call.
We don’t know if it is ok for bloggers to speculate on the performance-enhancement of professional athletes. In defense of the blogger writing about Ibanez, he was trying to disprove Ibanez’ usage. But in the end, this is the sports world we live in now. Every athlete is guilty until proven innocent.
And no matter what your view is on this issue, Jon Heyman can’t be a hypocrite. At least the blogger was making a statistical argument. Heyman’s speculation is based on whether or not Sosa can speak English.
There cannot be one set of rules for the mainstream media and another set for bloggers. Garbage is garbage, whether one has media credentials or not.
[Update: Let me say that I am a big fan of Jon Heyman's work. He is a great writer. And he was far from the only mainstream media member to jump on the blogger in question. And I am certain that many of the other writers also have instances in the past in which they have speculated about Sosa or Brady Anderson or Luis Gonzalez or Brett Boone or another player. The intent of this post was simply to point out one blatant example in which a media member is critical of bloggers for something the mainstream media does all the time.]