MORE ON RYAN. Bob Ryan's speculation over Nomar Garciaparra and steroids is not playing well with two of his fellow sportswriters today. His Globe colleague Gordon Edes writes:
Garciaparra has had a startling run of injuries, but in the absence of any evidence, it is treading very dangerous ground to suggest that they were the result of his intense training program, or the muscle-building supplements (like creatine) that he has acknowledged using, or illegal substances he has vociferously denied using, an assertion backed up by Red Sox medical officials and teammates.
Here is Sports Illustrated's Stephen Cannella:
The point is, we don't know if Garciaparra ever has used steroids. It would be easy to name 50 other players about whom there were, or are, similar whispers. But there's a difference between rumors that swirl around the batting cage and what should make it's [sic] way into print or onto our TV screens. Let's face it: There's enough circumstantial evidence to indict nearly everyone who's worn a major-league uniform in recent years as a steroid user.
But without proof or probable cause - a failed drug test, a public admission in court or to a journalist, even an accusation in a tawdry tell-all book - reporters can't try to deduce who's using and who isn't based on appearance, home-run power or proclivity to major injuries.
The Herald's Tony Massarotti takes a pass today (click here if you want to skip the top; although it's about D-Lowe, so you might want to read it), writing a beefy Nomar item without mentioning either the Ryan controversy or the S-word.
I'm not sure if I'm going to follow this daily - it looks like it might blow over pretty quickly - but for further developments, keep an eye on the Phoenix's Mike Miliard and on the invaluable Boston Sports Media Watch.
Globe has bigger fish to fry. After today's expose on the danger of crystal meth to gay men, this week will see stories on how gay men get heart disease from eating fatty food, how smoking has resulted in lung cancer in gay men and how seat belts save lives on the trip between P-town and Montreal.
The Bb media [Gammons,McAdam,Masserotti,Buckley,that ilk] have blundered badly in letting the unchecked steroid use go unreported. Now that it's finally out that the past decade or so has been a sham some people are going to take belated shots at people. Instead of speaking in circles Nomar should shut up or try to medically explain his injuries. We all know that he put on 20 llbs. of upper body muscle. In this era simply saying you got there by working out harder than most isn't going to be believed as readily as it has been. When he posed nude on S.I.,all bets were off. I wish Nomar nothing but better luck with his latest injury.
It strikes me that from a media standpoint, we have the standard Boston approach to devouring its own AFTER they leave town. There was nothing in Ryan's column that was unknown when Nomar was here, other than the most recent injury. If Ryan believes his insinuations, why didn't he or any of the others have the guts to publish them then?
The behavior of Boston sports columnists has long been contemptible, including the unjustly revered Peter Gammons and Dan Shaughnessy. But when Ryan sinks to this belated bashing of Nomar, he crosses the line. After all, Nomar cannot prove a negative and he has now been irreversibly tarred by a "respected" newspaper and columnist.
For the record, I am a baseball fan, but not of the Red Sox, and have no feelings about Nomar one way or the other.
I don't know how many pounds of upper body muscle Nomar put on -- and neither does anyone but Nomar and his trainers. It's frustrating to see so many couch potatoes state with so much certainty that it's impossible to add muscle mass through sheer work.
I was a college swimmer. My freshman year was the first time I lifted weights. I gained 20 lbs. of muscle that year without even trying -- and without supplements. And that was in 1985-6. Because of advances in nutrition, it'd be a lot easier now. And we had barely even heard of steroids then, let alone seen/used them.
So the writers are supposed to make a bunch of accusations about drugs because a few guys lift weights? If that's the case, maybe they should be poking around the HS, college and pro football fields, where the real use is likely occuring. Whatever happened to the burden of proof? For all we know, the local writers have been actually investigating this for years and gotten nowhere. I'd say that for the most part the Boston print media has demonstrated uncharacteristically good journalism by not simply spouting innuendo.
My point is that their uncharacteristically good journalism was merely hypocrisy. They only committed good (i.e., responsible) journalism when it came to favored local athletes. And this had nothing to do with journalism. They were quite content to smear any number of non-Boston athletes when it suited their purposes.
The bottom line is that Ryan has now smeared Nomar in the same way that he and others smeared out-of-town athletes, leaving due process in the dust and disregarding the potent effects of such charges in a world of 24/7 media coverage.
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