Ryan Braun

This story has been written about by every sports blogger on the face of the Earth.  So I’m not going to tackle that here.  I’ve done a lot of stupid things in my day, and I’m certainly in no place to judge him for his transgressions.  The part of this story that I am fixated on was mentioned by Ross Tucker on Twitter yesterday:

Full disclosure, I have never done a drug in my entire life.  I’ve never even smoked pot.  Not once.  My high school bad boy-ness was stealing booze out of my dad’s liquor cabinet.  Which I did a lot.  A lot a lot.  But never did drugs.  I have plenty of friends who partake, and it doesn’t bother me in the slightest.  I have had friends who came over to my place in college just to do it because they were afraid to get caught at home.  No biggie, just not my thing.  Now, if someone offered me an ass-load of cash for a little weed?  You can bet your sweet ass I’d do it, and not even think twice about it.

But what about steroids?  I am a huge fan of the Oakland Athletics.  The first game I ever went to, I saw Mark McGwire hit a home run, and after that, he was my favorite player.  However, when he was traded to the Cardinals in 1997, he was dead to me.  Because if you don’t want to play for my team, well fuck you.  And then he got caught cheating with the ‘roids and everything was glorious.

But would I do it?  I am a normal guy.  I am stay home father.  We are a very middle class family.  We have money for family vacations (including my daughters first trip to Disneyland in September).  But we don’t have life changing money.

I played basketball in high school, and continue to do so today, but in rec leagues.  Continuing into college was never going to be an option.  I knew a guy in high school who was so ridiculously roided that it was laughable.  But he turned that into a college football scholarship to a Division 1 school, so good for him.  I have no idea about his health today.

But if I were to make it to the pros?  Probably would be happy with my life, even if it were as league minimum type player.  Hell, that’s around $500,000, I think.  What if I’m trying to get there?  What if you knocked on my door today?  There’s lots to think about.  Yes, my family would be set for generations.  Is that enough to tell my daughters that it’s okay to cheat if it’s for certain reasons?

I don’t know what the answer is.  And the answer is different to every person.  I just think its easy to judge and say “how dare he” from a distance when people aren’t faced with the decision.  People in baseball can certainly say it.  Brandon McCarthy (the best baseball follow on Twitter) was very critical, and had every right to be:

$100 million dollars is a lot of money.  But where do you draw the line?  If I would do it for $100 mil, would I do it for $50?  $20?  I would hope that I would do it the right way and pass entirely.  But I cannot sit here and say definitively that I would.