Friday, February 22, 2008

Lone Star Shuffling with Roger & Lance

I can't honestly say that I am what you'd call a fan of Selena Roberts. I usually find her commentary on the Sports Reporters, for the lack of better terms, "underwhelming."

That said, I applaud her effort in this week's Point After in Sports Illustrated.

While the media and fans alike continually vilify the likes of Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds and now, to an extent, Bill Belichick, inspirational hero and champion Lance Armstrong is conversely deified for his humanitarianism and courage.

Finally, in the wake of Congressional hearings and debate over the legitimacy of our sports' respective record books and championships, Roberts steps forward and calls a spade a spade - noting that Armstrong's demeanor and actions are no different than his fellow Texan Roger Clemens'.

While she chalks it up to Texas bravado, it's more like pompousness. "In recent months Clemens has been in near lockstep with Armstrong's don't-mess-with-Texas methodology: Deny defiantly, sue aggressively."

The difference between Roger and Lance, she concedes, is that the Rocket overstayed his welcome, whereas Armstorng "had the savy to exit before a raft of elite racers from his era surfaced in scandals that have savaged cycling."

On Roger, "As a serial retiree he could have departed as planned in 2003. Removed from baseball, in a different state of mind, he might have spoken to former senator George Mitchell if asked. He might have saved himself with righteousness." Instead, "Roger has no moral cover. He can't borrow Lance's halo."

It is up to us, then, as fans, to hold everyone, or no one, accountable. Roberts deserves credit for pointing out the double standards we in society have. A good PR campaign can far outweigh facts and alters perceptions, which if you think about it is exactly what they are intended to do. It is up to us to see through it.

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