OK. I can‘t stand it any longer. I just have to write my thoughts on this. To all of those out there who read this blog, please allow me some time to vent here. Agree with me or not, I just want to say a few things that are on my mind. Everyone has opinions, ideas, view points, and I want to share mine right now.
I just finished reading the current Sports Illustrated and its article (excerpt) from the book, “ The Game of Shadows.” The book itself is scheduled to come out at the end of the month. The book goes into great detail describing the drug use of Barry Bonds, the powerful slugger for the San Francisco Giants. The drug use outlined in the article involves steroids and other growth hormones that can, and is, used by many athletes today to increase their muscle mass and performance capabilities to give them an edge on their competition. This article goes to great length to document its findings and to establish the legitimacy of the claims made by its two authors, both reporters for the San Francisco Chronicle.
In the past couple of years major league baseball (whom has kept its head in the sand on the problem of steroids and drug use), finally addressed the issue. Other sporting organizations have for years been testing athletes for illegal use of performance enhancing drugs. We have seen and read over and over again different athletes that have been caught cheating with steroids and watching their medals, awards, and records stripped from them. Now baseball, our national pastime, is involved. We watched as big name players went before congress under oath TO TELL THE TRUTH, denying the use of these drugs. Only to find out later that they lied, trying to hide the truth to the world, the dishonest way in which they played the game.
These drugs have horrible side effects. Deadly side effects. Athletes, both famous and unknown, have suffered the price for their use. Lyle Alzado, the great football player for Denver and Oakland, died in his early 40’s from steroid use. He admitted it before he died. Body builders, track stars, Olympic athletes, football players, weight lifters, you name it, have been and are now involved in their use. And the great cover-up continues. Denials and lies, and carefully chosen words are used when addressing the issue. And now we are focused on Barry Bonds, the man who is chasing one of the greatest records of all time, the title of Home Run King.
And Barry Bonds, one of the men who testified before congress under oath, is denying the accusations and using very carefully chosen words in his interviews. Reporters, news anchors, coaches and managers all mention that there is every indication that Barry Bonds is not telling the truth and that the evidence is overwhelming. Of course, Barry is in elite company. During the hearings several high profile players, many of which I truly admired, stated that they did not do anything wrong and that they would not talk about the past, only the present and future.
Now, I said all of that to get to the issue at hand. Sure, I am a baseball fan, and a sports fan all of the way. I love watching sports of every kind, that is why ESPN is my favorite channel. I know there are a lot of people just like me out there, who can’t get enough. We will watch anything considered a sport, ANYTHING! And I also know that there are those out there that could go days, even weeks (perhaps a life time for all I know) without watching a sporting event. But what I want to talk about is not really about sports, although it is found there. But it is also found at work, in relationships, in academic settings, you name it. IT IS CALLED LYING AND CHEATING.
We live in strange times. We live in a strange culture. Its true! Our world today is struggling over moral issues at every turn. And we are having a hard time deciding what we are going to do about it. The erosion of our moral fabric is so evident today that it is scary. Absolutely frightening. We are confronted with black and white issues of right and wrong, fair and unfair, good and bad. And we don’t know what to do about it. If you don’t believe me just watch your news channel and listen to what is being said. The way the media reports the news shows the dilemma that we are in today.
People, famous people, high profile people, are constantly in the news for lying and cheating. Martha Stuart, Ben Johnson (track runner), top executives from Enron, presidents (who can forget Clinton and Monica?), congressmen (Tom Delaney), I could go on for hours. Cheating on their taxes, cheating on their mates, cheating on anything and everything. And lying. Lying about what they did or did not do, lying about accepting gifts and donations. Lying about this affair or that affair. Choosing words very carefully. Its both amazing and sickening at the same time. High profile people, those in the public’s eye all of the time, doing things that are wrong and getting caught and then trying to get out of it. WHAT IN THE WORLD ARE THEY THINKING???
Do they think that they are above the law? Above reproach? That nobody’s watching? As we say in the south, “have they outgrown their britches?” Do they think that they will not get caught? Do they think that if they are that they can cover it up? Do they think they can talk their way out of it? Do they think that the public won’t care? Or is it because they just simply do not think at all???
Now, back to the problem at hand. Our culture today, this current generation, what do we think about all of this and how do we react to it? And how does all of this affect us? DOES IT AFFECT US? Is Barry Bonds, President Clinton, President Bush, Raphael Palmeiro (baseball player who denied before congress that he never used steroids and was caught last year, forcing his retirement), Martha Stuart, Pete Rose (baseball player with all time most hits, banished forever from the hall of fame because of his gambling addiction and his lying about it) and others, simply a reflection of our generation? Is lying and cheating so prevalent in our society today that this is just the tip of the iceberg or is this just isolated instances?
Lying and cheating has been around forever. Cover-ups and well chosen words too. But today we are living in an epidemic. Our morality has eroded to the point that lying and cheating is being confronted at every turn, from the highest and most famous, down to the nobodies and the average Joes. Cover-ups, well chosen words, and dishonesty is everywhere. People lying under oath, lying in courtrooms, in principle’s offices, in management offices. Lying to policemen, bosses, teachers, ministers, friends, and store clerks. It is everywhere. Moral or immoral, religious or not, good or bad, it is striking everywhere we turn.
And it is being demonstrated to our children. They see it at home, at school, they watch it on TV and in the movies. They hear it, read about it, and watch role models, family and friends do it. And children, teens, and others are redefining what cheating and lying even means. Is copying homework from another student wrong? Is it cheating? Not according to teens today! The VAST majority of teens do not see copying homework as cheating at all. Pressure to make good grades, to maintain high GPA’s, to get those coveted academic scholarships, has the best students cheating to make the grade. Competition to make the best grades, to win ball games, or to have and to hold, has caused people to do whatever it takes to achieve it. The “win at all cost” mentality has filtered into every aspect of our lives. Children are the mirror of our society today.
Catching people in the act of lying and cheating is one thing, but what are we going to do about it? Do we “re-define” it? Do we “ignore” it? Do we “confront” it? Do we shrug it off or do we get irate? What do we do? What CAN we do? Is it just part of life and do we need to just learn to accept it and go on and make the best of it??? That is where we are today? We are trying to decide what we need to do. Do we establish categories of lying and cheating? Do we draw lines in the sand and say this is acceptable but this is not? Do we establish “white” lies and “minor” lies and compare them to “big” lies? Shall we say that this kind of cheating is OK but this kind is not? And who is going to draw all of these lines and establish the measuring sticks? What will be the standard today? Tomorrow? Next year? 10 years? Me? You? Who??????????
Oh what a tangled web we weave. We cry outrage because President Bush “lied” to us about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Who cares if Saddam Hussein killed thousands of innocent people. Martha Stuart cheats and lies about inside trading and goes to prison. We are outraged that she goes to prison and feel sorry for her. Barry Bonds takes steroids and human growth hormones to get the edge so that he can break Hank Aaron’s long standing (and fairly earned) home run record. Nobody seems to care. Much. But let two handicapped tennis athletes in wheel chairs get caught for using the same drugs and we suspend them! (No joke! Read Sports Illustrated February 22nd issue). Hello? Is anyone out there?
I can’t believe I am living to see all of this! I can’t believe we live in a society that is so messed up that we can become so judgmental and uncaring at the same time. I can’t believe that I live in a place where cheating and lying is so commonplace that we dismiss it and call it normal. We have got to come to grips on this. We have to establish the fact that there is right and wrong, fair and unfair, and that there are real consequences for the decisions that we make. If we don’t teach these values now we are going to reap the whirlwind in the future, and I am talking about the very near future. Think about the consequences of Iran lying about it nuclear activities?
And think about the moral aspect. Lying and cheating are sins, contrary to God and His holy nature. Lying and cheating are eternal decisions. Think about it. What do we have to loose? A lot. Both now and later. Much later. Stand up for what is right, teach what is right. There are absolutes, and God’s word addresses it. We can’t be cowards about this, there is too much at stake. And just because you or I have lied or cheated before doesn’t change the outcome. No matter how badly you have messed up, you can make it right. You can’t change the past, but you can allow the past to change the future.
We should be outraged about cheating and lying. Barry Bonds, are you listening? We should speak up and stand up for what is right. YES, IT IS A BIG DEAL. YES, WE DO CARE. YES, WE HOLD PEOPLE ACCOUNTABLE. YES, THERE ARE consequences for our actions. May God help us now, more than ever, to be His ambassadors in this corrupt generation. You know, when you think about it, we really shouldn’t be all that surprised at all of this, the world is Satan’s playground, and he has polluted it with all of the evil that he can muster. But the false fascia Satan has put up has been stripped away and the ugliness of his demeanor has been revealed. The fight is on. The battle lines have been drawn. Where do you stand? Are you listening out there?