Monday, August 01, 2005

On Second Thought

Almost five months ago, Orioles first baseman, Rafael Palmeiro said the following under oath before Congress, "I have never used steroids. Period!" Then this happened today:

Baltimore Orioles first baseman Rafael Palmeiro, who had defiantly denied steroid use during a congressional hearing on performance enhancing drugs in March, has been suspended 10 days for violating baseball's anti-drug policy.

Palmeiro had appealed the suspension, but an independent arbitrator ruled the first baseman, one of only four players in major league history with more than 3,000 hits and 500 home runs, had to serve the suspension starting Monday. The suspension and the appeal had not been made public until the announcement of the suspension Monday.

While Palmeiro is claiming that he did not "knowingly" take steroids, I am not convinced. Professional athletes, for the most part, know exactly what they're putting in their body. Unless Palmeiro has a really good explanation for this positive test (e.g., he started taking an over-the-counter supplement from GNC and did not realize it contained banned substances), this will seriously damper his chances of being a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer even though he is only one of four players in MLB history to have 500 home runs and 3,000 hits because people will now believe that all the great numbers that Palmeiro has put up were steroid induced. Palmerio has some serious PR work to do if he wants to regain his credibility.