My phone rang this afternoon and it was Mark McGwire calling.Â He was calling to tell me that he had used steroids and wanted to apologize to me and my family personally for what he had done.Â He went on to tell me that a press release would be hitting the wires in aboutÂ a half hour,Â and that he wanted me to hear about his admissions and apologies directly from him and not from the front pages of this afternoon’s sports headlines.
I’m glad he called – it took a real man to make that call.Â It’s taken a long time, but I think we all knew in our hearts that this day would come sooner or later.Â I especially appreciate the sincere tone in his voice and the genuine contrition that I heard in his words.Â And while I could easily pile on with those critics that wished he would have done this sooner, the reality is that he is doing it now, and from everything I’ve heard on the air waves this afternoon and this evening, it feels to me like he’s coming completelyÂ clean.Â Finally.
There are at least two stark lessons in all this for me:
- First, this should be a strong reminder for all of us that the steroid topic is still very much alive and that we should never assume thatÂ our battle is over – because it’s NOT OVER, especially with our kids.Â I will stand on the highest point and scream to the world that Commissioner Selig and his management teamÂ have done a superb job in driving steroids out of Major League Baseball.Â But, with way too few exceptions, we still have yet to turn any meaningful energy at driving these drugs out of our high schools or out of our universities.Â Many of our education leaders and coaches are afraid to admit that there was ever a problem in our schools in the first place.Â Well, I’ve got news for them – Appearance and Performance EnhancingÂ DrugÂ use is widespread and is just as prolific as it’s ever been!
- The lesson for our kids is pretty straightforward.Â Steroid use is like so many behaviors (like drugs, cheating, alcohol, stealing, lying, etc.) that our parents taught us about all of our lives, behaviorsÂ that will give you a victory (or the illusion of victory) in the short run, but will cost youÂ dearly in the long run.Â YouÂ always lose when you do theÂ wrong things.
It is my hope that once the dust has settled on this topic and the new baseball season has begun, that Mark McGwire will help us leverage this teachable moment and will join with us in our battle against steroids.Â Who better to talk straight to the kids about the realities of what the true cost of steroid use is in the long run?
It is my fervent prayer that God will use us and will use this moment and the pain of this situation for a much greater good.Â And that this situation will become but another milestone in our quest to get America to pay serious attention to the problem of Appearance and Performance Enhancing Drug use by our youth.