Media Have No Business Voting for Sports Honors
Stop voting, friends.
By now, you've seen the bizarre story of Brian Cushing, the Houston Texans linebacker who was suspended for four games without pay after testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug. The Associated Press, troubled that Cushing had been named the NFL's Defensive Rookie of the Year in voting conducted by the venerable news organization, took the unprecedented step of calling for a re-vote. Right then and there, all 50 members of a nationwide panel should have refused to cooperate. Suddenly, the voters were in the awkward position of deciding a controversial issue that impacted pro football history and a player's legacy.
Which is tantamount to, yep, making the news.
Sad to say, only ESPN's Chris Mortensen and the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's Tom Silverstein abstained after originally opting for Cushing, with Mortensen admitting he was uncomfortable with the concept of a re-vote and opposed to supporting Cushing. Fox's Howie Long, meanwhile, wasn't available to vote, probably because he was filming another TV commercial but a good call nonetheless. Otherwise, 47 accomplished writers and broadcasters participated in this debacle -- including the high-profile likes of Bob Costas, Chris Berman, Peter King and Boomer Esiason -- and the results were embarrassing. Nineteen voters abandoned Cushing and voted for other candidates, but 17 stuck with him as Defensive Rookie of the Year, enough for him to retain the trophy. What this showed is that: (1) The American sports media don't treat football-related steroids stories with the same alarm as those baseball-related; and (2) The same media are pathetically divided on a subject that, after all these scandalous years, should have a universal level of insight and sense of justice. If an athlete is busted for steroids, he shouldn't win an award for a season in which he was using PEDs. It's the same rationale, in a smaller context, employed when those of us say no to Mark McGwire and other baseball juicers up for Hall of Fame consideration. There should be no exceptions.
You 'roid, you void.