Andy Pettitte is in the midst of a press conference discussing the abuse of steroids and HGH in baseball and his personal role in breaking the law. Sadly, he remains incapable of saying two simple words: "I cheated." Andy again tries to justify his actions as not that bad and not really cheating because he was only trying to recover from an injury, "Anyone that has followed my career knows that I have battled elbow problems the entire time. Again, like I said before, I never took this to get an edge on anyone. I did this to try to get off the DL and to do my job."
Remarkably, even in the context of religion and his faith, Andy continues to see his breaking of federal law and besmirching baseball as morally ok. "I felt like it was the right thing to do in my heart," insists Andy. "As far as my faith, I felt good about it."
Huh? Andy says -- rightly -- that kids shouldn't do what he did. But if what he did was morally fine and he did it for the right reasons, is that only because under a technicality it's against federal law and against the morals clause of baseball? Andy cheated, pure and simple. But asked point blank, he says again, "Do I think I'm a cheater? No, I don't. Was it stupid? Yeah." He also said, "If people think I'm lying, then they should call me a cheater."
Maybe the words to describe Andy are "in denial." Here's why.
1. Using HGH to recover from an injury gives you an edge over other teams -- It gives your team an edge over other teams who have pitchers that are injured but refuse to cheat and break the law in order to recover more quickly.
2. Using HGH to recover from an injury gives you an edge over your own teammates -- Pitchers are working together to win games but they're also in competition. If Andy is injured, that gives another pitcher a chance to start a major league game. It might even mean the chance for a minor leaguer to come up to the majors. And that means another minor leaguer might get a chance to jump from Double A ball to Triple A ball to fill their slot. The number of people that Andy cheated by potentially pitching when he should have been injured is hard to estimate but large. It also affects the people Andy faced on another team. Maybe an opposing pitcher who faced the guy he should have faced if Andy hadn't cheated would have won a game and changed their season. Or they would have lost it and that might have meant a minor leaguer came up and had a shot st the show. Again, it's impossible to know how many people that Andy cheated but it's many.
3. Using HGH for a short period of time guarantees the likelihood of getting caught via testing is nil -- unlike steroids, there's no test yet for HGH in baseball. Therefore, suggesting that his use of HGH instead of the far riskier steroids (as far as getting caught is concerned) is hardly more admirable.
4. Recovering from an injury fast brings personal glory, increases your market value and benefits you in every way -- every player wants to help their team win games. But cheating is no way to reach that goal. You're cheating if you're using steroids to build muscle mass. You're cheating if you trip up an opponent when no one is looking. And you're cheating if you illegally use drugs in order to recover more quickly.
5. Andy tries to pretend it wasn't technically illegal to use HGH -- "If it was illegal in baseball, I wouldn't have done it," he insists. Andy, it was AGAINST FEDERAL LAW. Baseball has a morals clause -- anything that brings disgrace to the game of baseball is against the rules. Cheating is cheating.
6. Andy says it hurt that people suspected he used steroids -- Why? Using steroids is cheating. Using HGH is cheating. Period. Cheating for years is worse? Sure. But Andy cheated twice over a several year period out of "desperation" as he put it. How he could be desperate, break the law and yet still believe he wasn't cheating is hard to swallow.
7. Andy says he should have had a prescription -- According to the New York Times, HGH is NEVER prescribed to professional athletes to recover form injuries. The rare instances in which it is legal to prescribe HGH (and it is the rare drug that specifically can NOT be used for anything other than what it is specifically approved for) include dwarfism, and wasting disease associated with AIDS. Andy is deeply confused about HGH if he thinks he could go to a doctor and get a prescription of it to fix a balky elbow.
I'd love for Andy to find some religious counselor, some ethicist, some moral leader who would tell us that breaking federal law, illegally obtaining a drug to recover from injuries faster than your teammates or your opponenets and getting a shot late at night from a shady fitness trainer ISN'T cheating and is in fact a-ok by them and in their opinion, by God. Maybe one reason he can stay in denial is because he's under no threat of being suspended for even a day. And that's one more black mark on the failed, disastrous legacy of Bud Selig and baseball.
Andy, you cheated. Pure and simple. Please, please wake up to that simple fact.