I Did Not Use Steroids With That Woman, Period
My first real disillusionment involving sports figures probably came when the University of Michigan basketball program was found to have committed recruiting violations and was placed on probation. I was a huge fan of the Fab Five of the early 1990's, rooting for them in several NCAA tournaments was a highlight of my sporting youth, despite the continuous heartbreak. Finding out they had cheated shattering my fond memories. The Michigan basketball program still hasn't recovered.
Now, I never had any real feelings concerning Rafael Palmeiro. He was just a dude who played for several different teams; a guy with a mustache which looked a little weird. Recently, though, I became proud of him for two things. First, his refusal to play in the exhibition games -- arranged by the two commie dictators Havana Pete Angelos and Fidel Castro -- showed a lot of guts and made a powerful statement. Second, his adamant denial of steroid use in front Congress was very convincing, and at the time it seemed way more honorable than Mark McGwire's avoidance of the issue.
Well, that all changed yesterday after Palmeiro started serving a suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy. According to sources named in several accounts, Palmeiro did indeed test positive for a steroid, and possibly even a serious one. He's the first major star to be busted, coming on the heels of his 3000th career hit.
I don't have much original insight to add, but I want to concur with something both Buster Olney and Tom Boswell brought up. In his statement, Palmeiro denied that he ever "intentionally used steroids." He also said he couldn't discuss details because of the confidentiality agreements put in place by baseball.
I'm going to join Boz and Buster in raising the B.S. flag. First, Palmeiro, perhaps more than anyone, knows the rules. If he knows there's a possibility that a substance might cause a positive steroid test, he's got to avoid that substance. Second, the confidentiality process in is place to protect his privacy. If he truly wanted to clear up a misunderstanding, he could waive confidentiality and come out with the complete story. If it was an accidental or inadvertant incident, then it would be in his best interests to tell the whole story.
In the end, unless Jose Canseco tied Palmeiro down and forcibly injected steroids into his butt, then Raffy is responsible for knowing what goes in his body. End of story.