Dave Zirin, of left-wing Nation magazine, asserted that the “context” of Major League Baseball’s “imperialism” and the abject poverty of those playing baseball in the Dominican Republican and Latin American nations should be considered when looking at why 12 Latin players accepted 50-game suspensions for breaking the rules and cheating by taking performance-enhancing drugs.
Zirin brushes aside that two of the players whose names have been most dragged through the mud–Ryan Braun, a Jewish American, and Alex Rodriguez, who was born in America, briefly moved to the Dominican Republic before growing up and playing baseball at Westminster Christian Academy near Coral Gables, Florida–did not come through the Dominican pipeline. Zirin says after Braun and Rodriguez, all of the players are Latin, and so the steroid scandal must be put in “context.” Zirin implores his readers just to look beyond those two names to hammer home his thesis.
He writes, “gander at the names of everyone suspended”:
Tops on the anabolic trophy list after A-Rod is Brewers 2011 MVP Ryan Braun. After that we have a group little-known to the casual fan. There is Jordany Valdespin, Antonio Bastardo, Sergio Escalona, Nelson Cruz, Everth Cabrera, Jhonny Peralta, Jesus Montero, Francisco Cervelli, and minor leaguers Cesar Puello Fautino De Los Santos, Fernando Martinez and Jordan Norberto.
‘Once we are past Braun, each and every one of these players comes out of baseball’s notorious Latin American pipeline (or notorious for anyone who bothers to investigate),” he continues. “Almost all the suspended players are from the Dominican Republic. This isn’t coincidence or happenstance. It’s the set-up of our globalized national pastime in the twenty-first century.”
Zirin then writes that “any serious discussion about performance-enhancing drugs and baseball needs to deal with the fact of who is getting caught” because so many players in Latin countries, Zirin rationalizes, have to use drugs because they are scared to live in poverty.
Zirin then wrote that he wishes American athletes would publicly acknowledge this reality and help make more excuses for the Latin players who cheated to help Americans put the steroid scandal “in context.”