Friday, May 08, 2009

The steroid double standard

Luckily I am not a member of Red Sox Nation currently overflowing with schadenfraude nor am a disillusioned fan of baseball with hopes for some return to a state of purity in the sport. So the Manny Ramirez revelation (on top of the A-Rod thing and the Mitchell Report) was not really a surprise--except for the utter stupidity of it.
But what I was surprised by was the lack of jokes around the whole thing. Everyone is treating it with such utter seriousness. The man was taking fertility drugs! Fertility drugs! No, "he's due after playoffs?" no "he's been trying for so long" type riffs. Not even stuff about the drug's off-label use to restimulate testosterone after a round of steroids.
When women take steroids there is no shortage of commentary about manliness, man hands, growing balls, etc. Let's not forget the still on-going jokes about the female Olympians of the 70s and 80s who competed for Iron Curtain countries and were doused--without their knowing, and this excuse is probably the last time it was true--with steroids.
But a man's masculinity remains sacred--especially in baseball. No shrivelled gonad jokes, no high-pitched voice audio clips, no hair removal comments.
This is not meant to make light of steroid use. It's just to note that some people get away with it and some people don't. (And I don't mean game suspensions and fines; I mean reputation and dignity.)

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