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I'm irritated by Richard Justice's rant about Tejada

After Tejada received probation and a $5,000 fine for misrepresentations to congressional committee staff, the Houston Chronicle's Richard Justice went into a rant--sometimes mean-spirited, in my view--about the Astros shortstop.  Justice complained that the punishment was too weak, the Astros' "get it behind us" attitude was wrong, and that Tejada is failing to come clean.

This article particularly irritated me.  I think I am getting  "steroids rant fatigue" from the media's outrage over steroids allegations.  After years of brushing aside steroids concerns and failing to follow up leads regarding symptoms and signs of steroids abuse in the late 90's and early years of this decade, it is as if the sports media feels compelled to react with witch hunt hysteria and outrage, now that the cat is out of the bag.

In his usual passive aggressive style, Justice states:

So Tejada got caught, and the Astros want you to get over it. Tejada doesn’t want to talk about it, and why don’t we move on down the road?

Tejada’s lawyer, Mark Tuohey, said his guy “realizes that in his profession he is, among other things, a role model for young men and women around the country.”

What a crock. If Tejada really were a role model, he’d come out and tell us the lessons he has learned from the steroid era.

If he regrets anything, it may be getting caught.


I guess it sure is nice to know that the Chronicle has a mind reader on staff.  Maybe he should be given more significant assignments trying to solve crimes, like the protagonist on "the mentalist."  The federal judge and the assistant U.S. attorney in the Tejada's case felt that Miguel's remore was sincere.  But what do they know?

Some more reasoning from his column:

Incidentally, who decided a $5,000 fine was any way to punish a guy making $13 million? Couldn’t the feds have ordered Tejada to pay whatever the government spent proving he’s a liar?

Uh, did you hear the judge's statement that this is the maximum fine, under the law, for this violation?  The magnitude of maximum fines is usually related to the perceived severity of the violation.  Tejada misrepresented facts to congressional committee staff persons.  I hate to break this to you, but people--lobbyists in particular--misrepresent facts to congressional staff people quite often.  Tejada broke the law, but the consequences of his actions pale in comparison to, say, financial misrepresentations by large corporations which have contributed to national economic damage.  I'm not making a political statement,--just pointing out that Tejada's actions were not catastrophic in harming other people.

As for Tejada, he hasn’t exactly been forthright. He has confessed to what he got caught doing and nothing more. And there appears to be more there.

He played the contrite card when he showed up at spring training until someone asked about his use of steroids and HGH.

He bristled and said he wasn’t going to talk about it. Now that’s coming clean.

I get the hint of some degree of self-interest in this statement.  Reporters would like as many press conference confessions as possible (a la Alex Rodriguez).  This would sell a ton of newspapers--which by the way need to sell a ton of papers or they may not be around tomorrow--and it has the added benefit of helping the reporter choose a topic for his next twenty columns.  Suppose Tejada did have more to confess.  That would cause the government to renew their prosecution of him, and perhaps lead to his deportation.  It's easy for  Richard Justice to say that  Tejada should publicly confess more violations of the law in order to create more interesting articles for Justice to write.  No matter what the truth is or isn't, any lawyer who doesn't advise a person in Tejada's shoes to say nothing to the press about steroids and HGH probably shouldn't be practicing law.  The Justice Department stated that it had no evidence to contradict Tejada's denial of steroids/HGH usage  For my part, I'll accept the long accepted standard of "innocent until proven guilty." 

And I'm OK with the Astros' front office's attitude that it's good "to get this behind us."  That's because the Astros know most people would prefer to be talking baseball, instead of legal issues, as the major league season begins.