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  • Public sends mixed message on athletes and drug use

    Newsday - 01/13/2013

    “The answer is ‘no,’ ” said Northeastern University law professor Roger Abrams, whose extensive writing on sports and law includes the 2010 book “Sports Justice.”
    The Hall of Fame — where Abrams spent six months as its first scholar-in-residence in 2006 — “is a private organization,” he said, “without public money. It’s not a government” and, unless there was proof of discrimination based on the Civil Rights Act, “then, sorry, there is no cause for action” by excluded players.
    Abrams happens to believe that Cooperstown is “more than the Metropolitan Museum of Art,” something closer to a cathedral than a mere collection of historic artifacts. “If we make believe that baseball is the national pastime — and it certainly was for so long — then we have elevated just a handful to the pantheon of the greatest,” he said.
    He contended that the Hall is “not there to show us how to be good people but to show us how to play the national game,” and he considers it “unjust to hold players accountable for something that was perfectly permissible” before Major League Baseball began testing for drugs — and only for survey purposes at the time — in 2003.
    Then again, “legally, socially, ethically, there are no legal restrictions.” Baseball writers “don’t have to explain how you vote,” he said.