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Jim Furtado
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Editor - Baseball Primer


Racism Newsbeat

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Medium: The System was a Steroid: Race, Performance Enhancement and the Baseball Hall of Fame

Confronted with the argument that maybe Williams, DiMaggio, and especially Babe Ruth wouldn’t have been as good had they been required to play against black players, most fall back on the argument that Bonds, Clemens and their steroid-enhanced contemporaries broke the rules, while Ruth and company merely played within the boundaries of the rules as they existed at the time.

In other words, while shameful, segregation was “just the way it was.” The implicit argument here is that we shouldn’t lower our estimation of white players due to segregation since they weren’t the ones who enforced the color barrier, but rather, just played by the rules as they found them.

But this argument is morally problematic on a number of levels. First, it suggests that if the rules themselves codify unfairness and cheating they are acceptable, and that it’s only when one cheats by breaking a rule that something is amiss. Additionally, to say that segregation was “just the way it was,” implies that we are under no obligation to challenge injustice unless we ourselves created it, and that if we collaborate with it, we bear no moral responsibility for its perpetuation. But what kind of moral standard is that?

DanG Posted: February 11, 2018 at 01:30 PM | 29 comment(s)
  Beats: babe ruth, barry bonds, color line, hall of fame, peds, racism, roger clemens




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