I cannot help but wonder… will the St. Louis Cardinals new hitting coach, former home run king Mark McGwire, refuse to help the team’s players because everything he learned about hitting is in the past he so reluctantly addresses?
It is easy as a fan or a member of the media to sit in judgment of Mark McGwire. His abject refusal to answer any and all questions pertaining to his steroid use in a 2005 Congressional Hearing on the subject – for fear that he may “jeopardize” his friends, family, and himself – changed his status from esteemed former player to disgraced side-stepper. In other words, his non-answer was a definitive answer. McGwire did steroids during his career as a professional baseball player, at least according to his own brother who claims to have introduced the slugger to the substance. McGwire, the slugger that helped rejuvenate a fledgling MLB in an all-time home run battle in 1998 with Chicago Cubs outfielder Sammy Sosa, became just another former player implicated in a scandal that marred one of the greatest slugging eras in the history of baseball.
If McGwire knowingly took performance-enhancing drugs even though the rules – and the conscience of any professional – indicate that is a wrong choice, why should the slugger now be allowed to coach?
If a player, according to one interesting argument from the Ethics Scoreboard, is unfit for the Hall of Fame due to ethical question marks, why is that player fit for coaching and influencing other players?
McGwire has never expressed remorse about his decision to take performance-enhancing drugs because he has never admitted to it publically, even though the court of public opinion has already rendered its verdict.
While baseball cannot explicitly prohibit McGwire from coaching in the Major Leagues, it is reasonable to question the employment of a player turned coach given questionable game-related ethics.
Using Mark McGwire as an example, should a former athlete of questionable ethics be permitted to coach?
For the purposes of this debate, set aside any OSHA and equal opportunity employment arguments that may be forming your skulls. Keep this debate focused solely on the question.
Loyal Homer will argue that former athletes of questionable ethics should be permitted to coach while Bleacher Fan will argue that former players with dubious ethical behavior should not be allowed to formally influence current players.
No behind the scenes lobbying, debaters. And no caffeine prior to writing. Play ball!