Los Angeles Dodgers slugger Manny Ramirez returned to baseball last Friday after serving his 50-game suspension for violating Major League Baseball’s Performance Enhancing Drug Policy. He went 0-for-3 in his long-awaited return against the San Diego Padres, but the Dodgers still managed to pull off a 6-3 victory.
As I was watching MLB Network show every Manny Ramirez at-bat live on Friday night, I couldn’t help but notice that it seemed as though Manny was being praised after being caught cheating.
The man was just suspended by MLB for use of an illegal substance. If anything, the public should lose some respect for him and question the integrity of his career accomplishments. Instead, Manny Ramirez is being treated as if he took 50 games off to take part in some sort of heroic deed.
So as I sat there on Friday night, I thought back to the day it was announced that Ramirez would face a 50-game suspension for violating the league’s drug policy. On May 7, most of the sports world was shocked and infuriated that Manny had been using an illegal substance. This was one action couldn’t simply be brushed aside by saying, “Oh, that’s just Manny being Manny”.
That whole mentality lasted for about two weeks. It wasn’t before long that Dodger fans and baseball fans alike seemed to forget about the entire cheating incident and began to throw themselves back onto the larger than life superstar. This was evident by the giant flock of fans dressed in Manny Ramirez jerseys and blue L.A. Dodgers “Dreadlocks Hats” who poured into minor league stadiums in Albuquerque, New Mexico and San Bernardino, California to watch Manny participate in his rehabilitation games.
What this entire situation surrounding Manny Ramirez really shows is how the public perception of a person is based merely on what that individual is capable of doing, and not their inner character and morals. Sadly, this is proved time after time again in the sports world. For instance, we didn’t see Yankees fans turn their back on Alex Rodriguez after he admitted to using steroids in the past. He hit a home run in his first at-bat after his admittance, then BOOM. He’s a hero again.
The only thing I can ask is that when you find yourself rooting for a particular player, ask yourself why you are doing so. Is it solely because they smack home runs or catch touchdowns? Or, do you value the quality of that person as well as their on-field performance?
Choose your heroes carefully, because we are the future sports fans of the world.
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