Her first observation -- that rather than register surprise at the NBA ref scandal, people were more likely to wonder which ref it actually was -- appears to have been lifted from Bill Simmons earlier column on the subject. You can't say it's plagiarism, however, because Schorno doesn't even bother to develop the thought beyond its mere utterance, rendering it impossible to determine whether she has an original thought on the subject.
Maybe that's for the best, however, because the results are much worse when she actually does attempt to go beyond a glib, derivative observation:
Major League Baseball didn't start taking notice of their own steroids problem until federal investigators got involved. Barry Bonds continued to get unnaturally bigger and hit more and more homeruns, [sic] yet MLB commissioner Bud Selig turned his head. It wasn't until outside sources revealed the BALCO scandal and a federal grand jury got involved that Stern [sic] decided to start making statements.
Really? No one noticed when Ken Caminiti admitted to using steroids and called out half the league in May 2002? No one noticed when Jose Canseco announced his book deal two weeks later? Does Schorno not know that the players and owners agreed in late 2002 for survey testing to begin, which, while flawed, did serve as a precursor to the current testing regime? Does she also not know that in November 2003 -- over a year before BALCO broke -- the survey tests that came back triggered actual random testing beginning in 2004?
I don't offer this to suggest that baseball has acted proactively with respect to steroids. Far from it. However, to suggest, like Schorno does, that steroids were ignored by baseball prior to the FBI knocking down the front doors of BALCO is simply not accurate. Though it would take BALCO and an embarrassing day in front of a congressional committee for baseball to get serious about the penalties for steroid use, there was certainly an acknowledgment of the problem at least year before BALCO broke, and even earlier in some quarters.
And even still [Selig] hasn't made any disciplinary decisions. He's taking the easy way out by waiting for the grand jury to make an indictment before taking a stance while Bonds inches closer to breaking baseball's biggest record. Had Selig been paying attention long before, he could have handled the investigation within the league and made a disciplinary decision himself. What happened instead was an embarrassment to baseball.
This is utter bullshit. Selig -- or those acting on his behalf -- have suspended dozens of players under the league's anti-steroid policy. Even though all reasonable people assume Barry Bonds took steroids, he has never failed a drug test for them. The hypothetical indictment of which she speaks would be for perjury, not steroids, and she fails to articulate what, exactly, Selig is supposed to do about players who commit perjury. Even if she had bothered to make a case for Selig policing perjury cases involving his players, I'm at a loss as to why his failure to do so at this point is "an embarrassment" when the U.S. Attorney, a grand jury, and the FBI have yet to find enough evidence to do anything about it themselves.
Schorno is like every other hack journalist out there who believes that the issue of steroids in baseball begins and ends with Barry Bonds, with its impact being felt only as far as the record book. If you see it that way, yes, you are going to be inclined to call Selig a failure, because you are judging his performance by a metric -- how he deals with pre-2004 steroid use in unknowable amounts by an unknowable amount of players -- against which failure is certain. It's a hack's game because it's easy and shallow and eschews discussion of the relevant issues related to performance enhancing drugs in baseball, such as their adverse health effects and the incentives that still remain in place for players -- typically the marginal ones -- to continue to risk such effects, not to mention suspension.
But perhaps the best evidence of Schorno's hackery comes when she, quite predictably, praises the NFL for keeping its house in better order than MLB:
The NFL's commissioner Roger Goodell, while not popular for his strict discipline, is at least taking steps to keep the players and coaches under control. As a second year commissioner he has some inconsistencies to iron out, but the other league heads could take a lesson from his courage to take a stand.
It doesn't require much in the way of courage nor does it constitute "taking a stand" to suspend a player who has been arrested for multiple violent offenses in a span of less than two years, or another for a spectacular violation of probation involving multiple assault weapons and gangland acquaintances who wind up dead two days later. Indeed, the very need to have to take such stands may lead some people to conclude, contrary to Schorno, that the NFL does not, in fact, have its house in such goddamn good order. At the very least, I'd invite Schorno to compare apples to apples and explain why she thinks -- as I assume she does -- the NFL's record on steroids, both past and present, is so much better than Major League Baseball's.
And if and when you do, Sarah, don't forget to include the corpses.