Cycling is at a crossroads
In these tough times, tough decisions need to be made.
20th century and grew up in Greenville. He was an accomplished player holding several records for the time and still holds the third-highest career batting average in major league history. He was also a cheat.
Jackson was a member of the 1919 Chicago White Sox team which conspired to lose the World Series. This scandal rocked America, was front page news, and as a result Jackson was banned for life from America’s favorite past time.
Presiding over the scandal was Kenesaw Mountain Landis. He was a federal judge and the first Commissioner of Baseball. He was a tough judge and had fined Standard Oil of Indiana for twenty-nine million dollars and during World War I threw the book at draft resistors. He carried that iron-handed attitude to professional baseball. Despite repeated appeals, Landis never reinstated Shoeless Joe back into the game and is considered to be responsible for cleaning up baseball, which had been plagued by gambling problems. Public perception was that professional baseball was riddled with thrown games. In order to accomplish that change, strong, unyielding decisions had to be made and Landis stepped up to the plate.
The “Black Sox Scandal” as it was called is over 90 years old. Now there is a park named after Jackson, as well as a museum with a gift shop (purchases are cash only) just across the street from Flour Field, the home of the Greenville Athletics. Will time wash away the destroyed image of Armstrong the same way it did for Jackson and leave us with the man who fought cancer and survived?
To this day supporters of Jackson claim there is some depute he threw those games.
Jackson told The Sporting News in 1942 and posted on the official Shoeless Joe Jackson website, “Regardless of what anybody says, I was innocent of any wrong-doing. I gave baseball all I had. The Supreme Being is the only one to whom I’ve got to answer. If I had been out there booting balls and looking foolish at bat against the Reds, there might have been some grounds for suspicion. I think my record in the 1919 World Series will stand up against that of any other man in that Series or any other World Series in all history.” Sound familiar?
I’m not optimistic that in Armstrong’s lifetime there will be a park named after him. Contrary to what McQuaid says, this dark time in professional cycling won’t go away so soon because quite frankly it hasn’t run its full course. Another reason it won’t go away anytime soon is due to the continual failure in leadership at the UCI. Hard choices need to be made and one of them is to gut the governing body from the head and work our way down. By this I mean managers and riders who continue to their complacent behavior towards doping starting now.
If there is strong evidence that shows a rider or manager continues to be part of the doping problem they should be banned from the sport for life. The window for immunity is