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It’s lunacy to keep Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens out of the Hall of Fame

Nov 28, 2012, 12:48 PM EDT

Barry Bonds

There are 37 players on the 2013 Hall of Fame ballot. And, over the coming weeks, we will consider all of their candidacies in turn.  But there are two players making their debut on the ballot who tower above all of the others, and nothing useful can be said about the Hall of Fame class of 2013 without first considering those two. So let’s talk about Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens.

Bonds and Clemens are two players who, in a just world, would be unanimous selections for induction but who, for reasons discussed earlier today, will almost certainly not make the Hall.  Let’s first walk through their obvious baseball qualifications for the Hall — and bear with me, because I will assume in this first part that the performance enhancing drug issues don’t exist — and then deal with those pesky objections so many have to their candidacy.

The Baseball Bonafides

While it’s always hard to compare players between eras, it is not hyperbole to say that Bonds and Clemens would be finalists in a contest to name the greatest hitter and the greatest pitcher who ever lived. We all think we know how great they were because their careers just wound up five years ago, but even the most dedicated baseball fan can be shocked to take a look back over their stat sheets to see just how thoroughly they dominated their era.

I won’t go into hardcore statistics with you, but let’s just see where Barry Bonds resides on the leader board in various categories:

  • He’s the all-time home run king;
  • He’s the all-time walk king and the all-time intentional walk king
  • Third all-time in runs scored;
  • Third all-time in wins above replacement (WAR);
  • Sixth all-time in on-base percentage;
  • Sixth all-time in slugging percentage;
  • Fourth all-time in OPS (on-base plus slugging) and Third all-time in adjusted OPS (which weights for era and ballpark);
  • Second all-time in extra base hits;
  • Fourth all-time in total bases;
  • Fourth all-time in RBI;
  • Second all-time in total times on base; and
  • He’s the single-season record holder for home runs and base-on-balls (actually he holds the top three seasons in base-on-balls)

In addition, he has the record for most MVP awards (seven) and probably deserved to win the MVP a couple more times, most notably 1991. And he wasn’t all bat, either. He holds the all-time record for putouts by a left fielder, won eight Gold Gloves and stole 514 bases.

How about Roger Clemens?

  • Third all-time in strikeouts (4,672)
  • Ninth all-time in wins (354), but third among pitchers who didn’t spend the bulk of their career in the deadball era;
  • Sixteenth all-time in innings pitched, but ninth among non-deadballers;
  • Seventh all-time in games started;
  • Third all-time in WAR for pitchers;
  • Tenth all-time in adjusted ERA+ (which is analogous to OPS+ in that it weights for era); and
  • First in several other complex era-adjusting statistics such as runs saved, win probability and the like.

Like Bonds and his MVPs, Clemens has seven Cy Young Awards and arguments for more. He also has one MVP award of his own.

When you look merely at their production and their dominance, the number of hitters better than Barry Bonds and the number of pitchers better than Roger Clemens in all of baseball history can be counted on one hand. Comparing Bonds and Clemens to people like Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Ted Williams and Walter Johnson is not just not hyperbole. It’s absolutely necessary, for their like has rarely if ever been seen in the game of baseball.  Put simply, they are immortals.

But their baseball exploits are not the end of the story, obviously.

source:  Bonds, Clemens and Performance Enhancing Drugs

While Clemens and (to some extent ) Bonds continue to either deny or play down their use of PEDs, and while the criminal prosecutions against them were either misguided, unsuccessful or both, it is simply obtuse to believe that they weren’t significant PED users. Bonds’ use was painstakingly documented in the 2007 book “Game of Shadows.” Clemens’ use is far less clear cut, but just because the Justice Department couldn’t convict him of lying about it under oath doesn’t mean that we have to assume he never did it. For our purposes here, let’s make the exceedingly safe assumption that he did.

Bonds and Clemens use of PEDs will, for many, disqualify them from Hall of Fame consideration out of hand.  The reason they won’t get 75% of the vote and induction on this year’s ballot is because far, far more than 25% of the Hall of Fame electorate believes that anyone who used PEDs should not be in the Hall of Fame, full stop. Many if not most fans feel this way too, as do no small amount of current and former major leaguers.

But should this be so? Absolutely not. And to explain why, I will take on the arguments commonly made against their induction one-by-one:

Argument: Bonds and Clemens may have amazing stats, but those stats were bogus due to their PED use.

Response: Sure, to some extent their statistics were inflated. But by how much? When did Bonds start using? When did Clemens start using? If, as is almost universally agreed-upon, it was during the middle-to-late years of their career, how were they so dominant early on as well? Bonds won three MVP awards before the “Game of Shadows” authors believed he began using. Clemens had an MVP, three Cy Young Awards and was generally considered the best pitcher in the game before his chief accuser, former trainer Brian McNamee, claims he began using PEDs. If you stopped their careers the day before they picked up their first syringes, they’d be first-ballot Hall of Famers.

But even taking their whole careers in, it is lunacy to suggest that, inflated or not, Bonds and Clemens weren’t vastly superior to their competition. Hundreds if not thousands of major leaguers took PEDs during the 1980s, 90s and early 2000s. Many of them, by the way, were pitchers who faced Bonds and hitters who faced Clemens. But that aside, no one matched Bonds’ and Clemens’ performance. It’s obvious why: the E in PEDs stands for “enhancing,” not “creating,” and thus one cannot ignore the fact that Bonds and Clemens were unique and historic talents who, even if the final tallies on their stat sheets should be somewhat discounted, clearly would have been among the all-time greats without the juice.

Argument: You can’t just discount their stats. Bonds and Clemens cheated, cheating is wrong, and thus they should be excluded.

Response: Cheating is wrong, no question. But Hall of Fame voting is not a rule-enforcement mechanism or a court of law. That’s the job of the Joint Drug Program agreed upon between the league and the union. If someone breaks the drug rules and gets caught and gets punished, it’s up to the league to punish them, not baseball writers who comprise the electorate.

But that little technicality aside, the Hall of Fame has long welcomed cheaters with open arms, and no current rule says that a cheater, be he a drug cheater or otherwise, can’t be allowed in (I’ll get to the issue of character in a minute). Gaylord Perry threw a spitball. Don Sutton and Whitey Ford (and probably almost every other pitcher in history) scuffed or cut balls. Scores of batters corked their bats. The 1951 Giants won the pennant after rigging up an elaborate, electric sign-stealing mechanism. John McGraw, both as a player and a manager, invented and carried out more ways to break rules than anyone in history, ranging from umpire distracting and cutting the corners on bases and tripping or obstructing opposing runners. Ty Cobb sharpened his spikes in an effort to maim opposing players who would dare try to tag him out. While we single out the 1919 White Sox as a unique stain on the game, many players — including Hall of Famers — fixed baseball games prior to the Black Sox scandal.

While many have attempted to argue that using PEDs is different in kind than all of those other examples — examples which are often laughed off as quirky or colorful — the fact is that there are PED users in the Hall of Fame already. Only, instead of steroids, they used amphetamines or “greenies” as they were called. Players who have either admitted to or have been credibly accused of taking such things include Pete Rose, Mike Schmidt, Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams, Hank Aaron and Willie Mays. And this leaves out all of the drug and/or alcohol users who took things which hindered their performance, which also impacted the competitive nature of the game, albeit adversely to their team’s interests. And it also assumes that there are no steroid users already in the Hall of Fame, which I do not believe is a reasonable assumption.

The common thread here: all of these examples of baseball cheating involved players breaking rules in an effort to gain some sort of edge on the competition. Rule breaking that, in turn, put the competition in the unenviable position of having to decide if they too should break the rules to keep up.

The point here isn’t that two wrongs make a right. The point is that the Hall of Fame has never cared about wrongs in the first place.  Why it should start caring about them now is beyond me.

Argument: The Hall of Fame ballot has a character clause on it, and even if the past cheaters were let in, voters are nonetheless obligated to abide by the character clause now and keep Bonds and Clemens out.

Response:  Yes, the Hall of Fame ballot has a character clause. It reads like this:

“Voting shall be based upon the player’s record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character and contribution to the team(s) on which the player played.”

It should be noted, though, that this clause was not invented to keep bad seeds out. It was invented to let good eggs in, even if they weren’t quite up to Hall of Fame standards otherwise. It was designed to be a bonus, not a detriment. Specifically, as Bill James argued in his seminal book “Whatever Happened to the Hall of Fame,” the clause was written by baseball commissioner Kennesaw Mountain Landis in an effort to get a player named Eddie Grant inducted into the Hall on the basis of his heroism in World War I (Grant was killed in action in Lorraine, France).  The attempt to get Grant inducted never worked — he just wasn’t a good enough player — but the clause stuck.

It stuck despite the fact that character — like cheating — has never been true criteria for Hall of Fame induction. The Hall is filled with racists, segregationists, cheaters, drug users, criminals both convicted and merely accused, and depending on how you view Tom Yawkey’s treatment of former Red Sox trainer Donald J. Fitzpatrick, an argument can be made that an enabler of sexual abuse has a plaque in Cooperstown as well. Heck, as Joe Posnanski noted a few years ago, way back in the 1930s a guy who murdered his wife and children got a couple of Hall of Fame votes.

But the point here isn’t exactly the same “well, other bad seeds are in the Hall” point mentioned above.  It’s more about how irrelevant the clause is to one’s prowess or fame as a baseball player and, more to the point, how ill-equipped baseball writers are at judging a player’s character.  Indeed, the presence of all of those bad seeds shows how ill-equipped they are. The clause was always there, yet those guys got the votes. It’s possible this was the case because all of the writers accidentally forgot to apply the voting rules. It’s far more likely, however, that the writers, in their wisdom, realized that they were in no position to look into the hearts of men and judge their moral worth.  It’s something that some writers are now starting to realize about the PED crowd.  It’s something they all should do.

Conclusion

In the final analysis, I hope we can all agree that there is no baseball reason whatsoever to keep Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens out of the Hall of Fame. Their baseball accomplishments — both those which can be measured by statistics and those which cannot — are so far beyond sufficient for induction that it’s almost laughable to list them.  To oppose their candidacy, then, one must make a moral or ethical case based on their drug use and the voter’s opinion of their character. And that case will almost certainly be made from a great distance and with imperfect information.

You may feel comfortable doing such a thing.  I do not.  And I believe that any Hall of Fame that does not include two of the best players to ever swing a bat or throw a ball, no matter what their flaws, is an utter joke.

217 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. barsoumian9 - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:05 AM

    When Pete Rose gets in these guys should be allowed in.

    • theskinsman - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:42 AM

      I wish I could give you a thousand thumbs up. The HOF has rules.If MLB wants to change their criteria, so be it.I find it a much,much bigger travesty to deny Rose. What he did between the lines wasn’t chemically enhanced.

      • kylevester - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:57 AM

        Amphetamines are a PED and Rose used them.

      • raysfan1 - Nov 29, 2012 at 7:59 PM

        I wish I could give you thousand thumbs down. Kylevester is right, he did use amphetamines and was “chemically enhanced” to use your terminology. Further, everyone in baseball has known for over 90 years that betting on baseball gets you banned for life, and he did it anyway.

  2. richwizl - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:29 AM

    I disagree, Craig. Guys like these and Pete Rose and Joe Johnson should be put into another Hall for greatest ball players who disgraced the sport and themselves. Why cheapen the HOF for the guys who stood out without PEDs?

    • raysfan1 - Nov 29, 2012 at 8:02 PM

      No problem, but you have to move Willie Mays to the PED users’ Hall too then. Greenies, AKA speed, properly known as amphetamines, are PEDs.

  3. barsoumian9 - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:46 AM

    Pete Rose never bet on his team, and he played ball the way it was ment to be played. That’s why we still talk about him to this day, he changed the game. It was Pussified before his time, and it’s Pussified now!
    That’s why players are using enhancing drugs.

    • richwizl - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:53 AM

      I seem to recall Rose was caught betting on his team when he was Manager, which is just as bad, if not worse. Too bad, he was an awesome player.

      • theskinsman - Nov 29, 2012 at 11:14 AM

        What part of ‘what Rose did between the lines’ is too hard for some to understand??? He never threw a game, he is a hyper competitive person who always thought his team would win.
        Hank Aaron supposedly used amphetamines,as did just about everyone else 40 years ago.That wasn’t the issue. The issue is Roidger and BarRoid are cheating dirtbags, like Aroid and HGH Andy Pettitte. They don’t deserve a sniff at the HOF unless Rose gets in 1st.

      • raysfan1 - Nov 29, 2012 at 8:45 PM

        You say just about everyone was doing amphetamines 40 years ago, and thus it’s no big deal? Then you should back the steroid cheaters for the same reason. Amphetamines are effective PEDs, were being used for that reason, and their use without a prescription has been illegal since 1971–so greenies users 40 years ago were breaking the law and cheating in the exact same way as steroid cheaters. I’ve no issue with being angry at steroid cheaters, but to be intellectually consistent you have to be mad at the speed poppers too.

        Rose did bet on his team. It is not known, nor can it be, if he bet on every game. I doubt he ever bet against his team, and even the most jaded Rose apologist should be able to see the problem with that if he did. Even setting that aside, there are many problems even with betting for your own team to win. First, unless he bet the same amount on every time and bet it every game, it creates a perception that he might not be trying just as hard in the game on which he either did not bet or bet less. Not betting on a game could also be a message, intentional or not, to the bookie about games his team might be expected to lose. It was illegal and thus could also set him up for extortion to shave runs if not outright lose certain games. If you cannot see how devastating to the interests of MLB even the possibility of these things is, then your “Rose colored glasses” are so thick that you are blind.

        For 90+ years everyone in baseball has known that betting on baseball would get you banned for life. He did it anyway and is simply now paying the price.

        Further, the fact that he was banned for gambling on baseball as a manager does NOT mean he never Benton baseball as a player. None of us can know whether he did or not. It also does not matter, because as a manager it is,if anything, worse because then he is in a position to manipulate the lineup according to his bets.

  4. coloradogolfcoupons - Nov 29, 2012 at 11:56 AM

    Bonds is a travesty of a mockery of a sham, to paraphrase Woody Allen. He belongs in the Hall Of Hell, not fame. Clemens has a better chance, but not much of one. Take a look at these gigantic head-and-neck roid users and tell me they didn’t get convicted…they are convicted by appearance and productivity after age 35. 45 year olds don’t hit 500 ft HR’s or throw 98 mph fastballs unless they are juiced. What I hate about it all is this will be a story every year at this time until they die, and even after. This is what the Hot Stove League is going to be about, forever, which is enough to keep them out of the Hall by itself. Last story I am ever going to read about it, anyway.

    • The Dangerous Mabry - Nov 29, 2012 at 2:23 PM

      Number of games played by Barry Bonds at age 45: 0.

      Number of home runs hit by Barry Bonds after age 40: 58.
      Number of home runs hit by Hank Aaron after age 40: 42

      You don’t like Aaron? Number of homers by Stan Musial after age 40: 46.

      And I think era probably had a lot more to do with that difference than anything else. In 2007 (Bonds’ final season), there were 1.04 home runs per game in the NL. In 1976 (Aaron’s last year), there were 0.58 home runs hit per game in the AL. In 1963 (Musial’s final season) there were 0.75 homers per game in the NL.

      Ok, so that’s Bonds. What about Clemens?

      Number of games pitched by Roger Clemens at age 45: 0.

      Number of innings pitched by Clemens after age 40: 848. Which is certainly a lot.
      Number of innings pitched by Randy Johnson after age 40: 1011. Which is a good bit more.

      Or maybe you figure Johnson was “juiced” as well? Ok, fine.

      Number of innings pitched by Nolan Ryan after age 40: 1270.

      Please don’t exaggerate when the facts are readily available. Maybe you think the only reason these particular men had long careers is that they were using products that enabled it. Clearly, that’s not something anyone can prove or disprove, and it’s a fair stance to take. But it’s hardly the case that they had uniquely long careers in the annals of baseball, or that they were uniquely successful late in their careers. Great players tend to have longer careers, and play well for longer. It’s just what they do.

      Please don’t exaggerate facts to make it sound like nobody could possibly do this without being “juiced” or I guess if that’s your standpoint, then recognize the other players you’re throwing into that category.

  5. dexterismyhero - Nov 29, 2012 at 1:59 PM

    You left out the “first person ever to have both his feet and head grow to enormity after the age of 35.”

    Thank you, Dexter

  6. bbk1000 - Nov 29, 2012 at 2:25 PM

    Clemens clearly was done after he left Boston. At that time he was 174-111 with an era just north of 3.00.

    He clearly would have gotten worse without the silly sauce….this is not a hall of famer by any stretch of the imagination….

    • raysfan1 - Nov 29, 2012 at 9:23 PM

      1) His record was 192-111, ERA 3.39 and winner of 3 Cy Youngs when he left Boston. His second 20 K game was in his last season there, so saying he was clearly finished is clearly hyperbole.
      2) You know exactly when he started using steroids? You should publish your evidence that he used in Toronto since what evidence we actually know of was when he was with the Yankees. By the time his two years as a Blue Jay were done, his record was 233-124, 3.27 and had won 5 Cy Youngs. That pretty obviously is Hall worthy.

      • bbk1000 - Nov 30, 2012 at 6:30 AM

        He was 20-18 with a near 4.00 ERA his last 2 years in Boston and 41 – 13 with a great ERA in the following 2 years in Toronto…and anybody who was watching him back then thought he was done in Boston.

        A single 20k game means nothing with a power pitcher who on any one day can turn back the clock. The ability to sustain that dominance over the course of a season is something different.

        Oh, by the way, McNamee started working with Clemens in Toronto.

  7. thestevejeltzexperiment - Nov 29, 2012 at 3:25 PM

    Craig’s argument is solid. The arguments I’ve seen in the comments against Clemens and Bonds include the following, and none of them carries much weight:

    1. They weren’t Hall of Famers prior to the time their documented (read: documented) use of PEDs started.

    Answer: If you believe this, your Hall of Fame might consist of 15-20 players, tops. And that’s being generous.

    2. They cheated, so they should be out.

    Answer: MLB didn’t give a rat’s ass about the cheating, until they were dragged kicking and screaming into implementing drug testing. Without an enforcement mechansim, you’re inviting the rule to get broken. Hell, if the authors of Game of Shadows are correct, Bonds didn’t start juicing until after he saw the accolades others received for doing so. If MLB had been testing, Bonds would not have been tempted to use. So who’s fault is it?

    3. We don’t know about everybody who used, but we know about them. That should be enough, and they need to be punished for cheating.

    Answer: I’ll admit this gives me pause. But I ultimately think this is silly — who appointed the baseball writers (many of whom put their heads in the sand during the 90′s) to dole out punishment in the form of a Hall of Fame denial for these players cheating in baseball? MLB does not see fit to punish them, so why should the BBWAA?

    4. The analogy to PED use by amphetamine users isn’t the same thing, and two wrongs don’t make a right.

    Answer: Two wrongs don’t make a right, but the analogy is appropriate every time someone references the alleged legitimacy of the stats compiled by players in prior eras. As someone else pointed out, Babe Ruth played in a time of segregation — that’s not his fault, but I don’t believe he was trying to change it. Henry Aaron’s generation (and every generation since until testing was implemented) used PEDs in the form of amphetamines. None of these guys is pristine. Moreover, as Mike Schmidt and others have noted, plenty of Hall of Famers would have used steroids had they been available. And some who are already in may have done so.

    5. These guys shouldn’t get in until Pete Rose and/or Joe Jackson are admitted.

    Answer: Separate argument. I want both admitted as well, because I think it’s silly to pretend they weren’t Hall of Fame players. I’m also biased in faor of Charlie Hustle because I grew up a Phils fan. But Rose broke a rule with a clear punishment mechanism in place, although I think it’s silly in the extreme to take him off the ballot entirely. But see #6 for a more detailed explanation.

    6. This is an honor, and dishonorable people should not receive the honor. Character counts according to the criteria to be applied in voting. Cheating indicates gross deficiencies in character.

    Answer: I think Craig’s point about the legislative history (for lack of a better term) behind the character clause on the ballot is important — it’[s designed to be something to consider to enhance player’s candidacy, rather than detract from it. Furthermore, people don’t seem to consider it a tiebreaker that helps guys. Foir example, Dale Murphy is universally acclaimed as a good guy, but the holier-than-thou writers excluding suspected PED users don’t, for the most part, spend time extolling his virtues and stumping for his inclusion on the grounds that his sterling character helps make up for his staistical shortfalls.

    More importantly, how do we judge the character of these men? Is it solely based on their conduct between the lines, or should also look at their track record off the field? It’s a little tough to do without some historical context — Ty Cobb was a virulent racist, but plenty of his contemporaries were probably less outspoken while sharing views that would today be deemed beyond the pale. Similarly, I’m guessing plenty of the players of the 80′s and earlier decades may well have exhibited homophobic attitudes that would be looked upon with disgust today. Should we dock them for it? Should we dock Jack Morris if he really uttered a Bobby Knight-type quote about women being raped?

    If your response is that we should judge their character based solely on their actions on the field, and that on-field cheating matters in this context, then you still have the problem of how to handle pitchers who cheated in ways we find entertaining, or hitters who corked their bats, or the PED use in the form of amphetamines. We romantacize the 1951 Giants, but they cheated as part of their amazing comeback — should we dock Willie Mays character points for being on the team?

    Baseball is played by men. It’s a beautiful game, but far from perfect. And the men who play it are far from perfect. The Hall of Fame is allegely reserved for those players who played the best and accomplished the most. You can certainly note how they accomplished those goals, but trying to argue that Bonds and Clemens are not among the best players who ever played it a fool’s errand.

    • raysfan1 - Nov 29, 2012 at 9:31 PM

      Absolutely agree on every point.

  8. brooklynboy48 - Nov 30, 2012 at 12:12 PM

    Mitch Williams said it best, the cheaters took the money when they used PED’s and gave up the right to the HOF. They made that choice knowing the were cheating. When all the older players mentioned used amphetamines, they were not illegal, but a legal prescription drug and were not banned by MLB. And, MLB is handing out waivers to players who “claim” to have hyperactivity and are taking uppers legally, as if their doctor would deny them the diagnosis and prescription.

  9. chiefagc5675 - Dec 1, 2012 at 8:54 PM

    Druggies and cheats do NOT belong in the Hall of Fame. The Babe drank beer and ate hot dogs in the dugout- not performance enhancing drugs like Bonds and Clemons used- and many. many more.
    Sammy Sosa cheated- he can forget that BS sign of the cross he always tried to make- God will kick him to the curb.

    • ptfu - Dec 1, 2012 at 10:26 PM

      “The Babe drank beer…”

      That was essentially illegal during Prohibition, which overlapped most of the Babe’s career. The Babe broke the Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, and I cannot imagine that Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis told ballplayers to flout it. That’s far more serious than PEDs and baseball’s piddly little rules. And baseball rewarded him for it.

      If that arrogant federal-law-breaking tub of goo* deserves HOF enshrinement, so do Bonds, Clemens, and everyone else who dominated the game. You can’t have it both ways.

      Either the Babe goes, or Bonds/Clemens/etc need to be in.

      *Make sure your sarcasm meter is turned on.

  10. rayfeathers - Dec 3, 2012 at 5:58 PM

    if you get caught cheating at any stage in your career you should be automatically deemed ineligible for the hall. why does anyone have sympathy for these millionaire cheaters?

  11. richwizl - Dec 4, 2012 at 11:03 AM

    Amphetamines do NOT enhance performance, although they will keep you awake. They will not help you throw harder, hit better, ran faster, etc.; they will, however, cause you to talk a lot.

  12. williegy - Dec 4, 2012 at 11:03 PM

    Even though the overwhelming likelihood is that Barry Bonds juiced for years, in point of fact I don’t believe he ever tested positive for PED’s. I’m no fan of Barry Bonds. By all accounts he’s a Grade A jerk. But, without concrete proof (and by that I mean a positive drug test) he was using PED’s, I don’t see how you keep MLB’s all time home run king out of the Hall of Fame.

  13. materialman80 - Dec 5, 2012 at 2:58 PM

    Clements and Bonds belong in the Hall of Shame, no the Hall of Fame. They don’t belong in there today, tomorrow, or ever.

  14. materialman80 - Dec 5, 2012 at 2:58 PM

    Clements and Bonds belong in the Hall of Shame, not the Hall of Fame. They don’t belong in there today, tomorrow, or ever.

  15. Jack Marshall - Dec 5, 2012 at 6:12 PM

    It’s lunacy to let them in. The bottom line is that they hurt the game, grievously, permanently, in ways that the other cheaters who may have been admitted did not. They corrupted it, and the fact that a smart, fair commentator like Craig could be confused into making what is essentially an “everybody does it” argument for ignoring the intentional cheating of fans, competitors, colleagues and the history of the game is proof of it.

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