I'VE FINALLY MADE UP MY MIND. Not to beat this to death, but since I've finally decided what I think about the Bob Ryan column on Nomar Garciaparra and his possible steroid use, I see no reason to keep it to myself.
1. It wasn't unethical. I don't really have a problem with a columnist writing about something that people have been talking about for years. It's inconceivable that anyone believes Garciaparra is (or was) a steroid user strictly as a consequence of reading Ryan's Friday column. The mainstream media's gatekeeper role is long gone, and it makes no sense for a paper like the Globe to pretend that if it doesn't cover something, people won't know about it. But -
2. It was useless. If a mainstream news organization is going to travel down speculative paths it might have avoided pre-Internet and pre-talk radio, it at least needs to add some value. Ryan's column was nothing more than what you might hear on sports radio. Obviously a columnist can't take the time to poke into a subject the way an investigative reporter would. But it strikes me that if you're going to speculate about Garciaparra's devastating injury, there are two obvious questions you might want to ask:
- Did Garciaparra stumble out of the batter's box in such an awkward way that anyone might have suffered the same type of injury, with the tendon pulling away from the bone?
- Was Garciaparra's injury of the sort that is known to be associated with steroid use?
Media Log reader E.K. offers some excellent ideas for a follow-up:
Rather than throwing out steroid claims which will never be proven, I'd rather see reporters check out the Athletes Performance Center in Arizona, where Nomar works out all winter. He, Schilling, and Arizona Diamondbacks Matt Kata and Robby Hammack also work out there and all have had some pretty unusual and serious injuries in the last couple of years (you can Google those last two to get the specifics). Maybe they're just doing the wrong exercises to be good baseball players. I'm sure David Wells would agree.
Finally, this is just hateful.