David Ortiz went on another rampage Monday, defending his honor when it comes to his connection to performance-enhancing drugs.
Ortiz aimed bombastic comments toward MLB Network analyst Joe Magrane, and the network itself after being mentioned in an on-air discussion about PEDs and Baltimore Orioles OF/DH Nelson Cruz, after Red Sox pitcher John Lackey’s comments following Sunday’s game.
Magrane suggested that Ortiz received a “free pass” because his positive test was during MLB’s trial period of testing and it was not against the rules. Ortiz, in typical fashion, took offense to his name being mentioned in the same breath as PEDs, and lashed out at anyone who thinks he’s received a free pass via WEEI.com.
“Then one of the guys wanted to say that I got a free pass. And to be honest with you, in this country, nobody gets a free pass. He wants to make it sound like I got a free pass because nobody can point fingers at me directly. But the reason why I got that fake [expletive] free pass that he’s saying is because they pointed fingers at me with no proof. It’s easier to do it that way than having something that they can say, ‘Yes, you did this, you did that.’ My [expletive], I call straight up bull. Let me tell you. You don’t get no free pass here, especially a guy like me. I don’t get no free pass. That free pass B.S. that they want to talk about over there, they can shove it up their [expletive].
“That’s reality. You don’t use the words that I get a free pass. You don’t get a free pass on this. MLB don’t play that B.S. MLB don’t play that. There’s a reason why I’ve been drug-tested like eight times and we’re not even at the break. Is that a free pass? There’s a reason why I’ve been tested like 40 times since they approved the policy, the drug policy. Is that a free pass? They can get that free pass and shove it up their [expletive].”
The last part of Ortiz’s rant is true. He’s probably been tested as many times as he suggests. He and the rest of MLB players have undergone the same scrutiny since the drug policy took effect.
But, as is all too typical, a baseball player snagged in the PED net refuses to simply admit and move on. Sure, Ortiz is also correct in that he did not defy the rules when he was using PEDs in 2003. But, to suggest he’s never used them and that there was no proof is simply a way to misdirect reality. Ortiz’s lack of accountability is the where the “free pass” comes in.
He's not getting a free pass now, he's been holding onto one since his name was leaked in 2009 and he did not own up to his indiscretions.
Ortiz, like Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire, Alex Rodriguez, Rafael Palmeiro and Ryan Braun took the easy way out. Denial.
And to what avail? Several years have passed and the shadow of PEDs still follows Ortiz around. Wouldn’t it have been easier for him to simply say he did PEDs, but was not abusing the rules at the time and it has not and would not happen now that the policy had changed?
Instead, almost five years later, we lump his name in among those who made it necessary to begin the rigid testing and with good reason -- zero accountability. He did not have to face fans and admit to taking drugs to enhance his performance. Free pass.
Is it unfortunate that his name was leaked? Not really in my view. I wish all the names were revealed so the witch-hunting could cease. There would be no penalties other than it being acknowledged that the player used PEDs at the time of survey testing.
It would be then up to each of the players to stand in front of the fans and make a choice. Provide an explanation or deny it.
Ortiz has cried foul for so long now, it would be interesting to see him change course, but he won’t. He’s dug in and won't retreat. As a result, Ortiz will continue to be attacked as he pretends he was not a part of the original problem, and we'll insist he's maintained a free pass until he admits his use.
Christopher Carelli is a freelance sports writer/editor and the Director of Content Strategy for Sportsideo.