Johnny Damon fails to answer essential question about PEDs

  • Tristan Tippet

Johnny Damon went off against PED users on 810 CBS Sports in Orlando. Damon, a two-time All-Star and World Series champ, says he’s one of the few players to aggressively defend his case as clean. Damon says that’s why he’s out of the league (Scooby Axson, SI.com).

Credit: Sports Illustrated

Credit: Sports Illustrated

Damon isn’t the first and only player to proclaim himself as clean and he won’t be the last. But Damon’s enthusiasm, boldness and candor is admirable. Everything Damon said is morally and politically correct. In fact, with all Damon’s been through in his career, he’s putting his favorable luster on a ledge, which is also commendable. He didn’t have to, but he did.

Damon’s motives appear to be noble and his disdain towards PED users feels genuine. But one thing stood out about Damon’s soapbox. He neglected to answer one significant question.

Damon may be trying to make a claim for his Hall of Fame legitimacy since he was so adamant about being clean. When you look at his numbers, Damon has a .284 career batting average, 2,769 hits, 408 steals, 522 doubles and 235 home runs. He could be in or he could be out, but more likely out. But the biggest case in Damon’s favor may be his nostalgia. Damon was at his best in the postseason for the Red Sox and Yankees and won a World Series with each. Damon was an integral part of the Red Sox’ magical run in 2004, which included a 3-0 series rally against the Yankees. That still feels like it was yesterday. The championships are what define Damon’s career. But it just so happens that Damon was on the Red Sox with supposed PED users Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz and the 2009 Yankees with supposed PED user Alex Rodriguez. It could be argued that just like home runs were by PED, so were those same World Series teams. If Damon is aware of that, only one question is necessary. Would he concede his World Series rings? Until he answers that question, we can’t really be sure what he’s trying to say.

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– Tristan Tippet
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