To make into the Hall of Fame, you have to become the best player in your sport through hard work and dedication. Integrity, knowing right from wrong and choosing to do what is right, should also be added to the stipulation of entering and remaining in the hall and record books.
Recently, one of the greatest linebackers to have played the game of football was arrested and accused of the rape of a 16-year-old girl. Unfortunately, greatness on the field does not directly translate to greatness in life choices when reading news headlines about some of these professional athletes.
Objectionable behavior on and off the field should prompt removal from the Hall of Fame as well as the record books.
Lawrence Taylor is just the most recent example of these fallen athletes. Mark McGwire has admitted to using steroids and should not be admitted to the Hall of Fame. He, Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa, who have also been accused of steroid use, should not only have an asterisk next to their names during their record-breaking home run hitting seasons, but should simply be removed. Having their names above Roger Maris is a slap in the face to the league and morality.
A couple of years ago, former standout American, world record holding track star, Marion Jones was removed from the Olympic and world record books by the International Olympic Committee after she admitted to using steroids during the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. There is not an asterisk next to her name. She was simply removed.
At the international level, cheating is not tolerated, why should it be any different from Major League Baseball? What does it say about our notion of ethics as a nation by allowing these names to remain on the record books even with an asterisk? Are we saying that cheating is condoned in our country? After all, baseball is America’s pastime.
Sports for children — aside from the pure enjoyment of the game — can be used as a tool to teach them discipline, respect, teamwork and playing fair. If professional athletes can’t be held accountable to the standards of a 10-year-old Pop Warner football player, do they deserve to be in the record books, let alone the hall of fame?
I’ll admit it, I am a fair-weather fan when it comes to the Mariners, but remember that season, back in 2001 when we almost broke the record for most wins in a season — the birth of Sodo Mojo? That memory became tainted for me when Bret Boone, a star player at the time, admitted to using steroids. Instead of working hard to become a great athlete, he chose the shortcut and cheated the league, his team, his fans and himself.
His actions carry a lot of weight, not because of the fact that he broke the rules, but because so many young fans during that season wanted to be just like him when they grow up.
If convicted, Lawrence Taylor should be removed from the Hall of Fame. McGwire, who has admitted to steroid use, should have his name erased from the record books.
It should remain the Hall of Fame, not the hall of infamy.
Chris Chau, a graduate of University of Washington, is an assistant records officer with the Employment Security Department. A member of The Olympian’s Diversity Panel, he can be reached at email@example.com.