Legend has it that when Shoeless Joe Jackson was leaving a courtroom during the Black Sox scandal of 1919, a little boy looked at him and said “Say it ain’t so, Joe.” Sadly, it was.
Those words which were probably never spoken have nonetheless become the symbol of supreme betrayal, of the shattering of bonds that connected wide-eyed kids to their towering sports heroes. And they ushered in the age of cynicism.
Very few of today’s kids think that sports stars are perfect, except perhaps when it comes to their stats. They know about steroids and other performance enhancing drugs, and they probably even think it’s okay to cheat a little bit, since winning is so important.
But every now and then, life throws us a very welcome but unexpected curve ball. This week, that pitch came in the form of Roger Clemens, who was found not guilty on two counts of perjury, three counts of making false statements and one count of obstructing justice. The charges arose out of testimony the “Rocket” had given to a congressional committee in 2008 where he denied ever using steroids.
You might still believe in your heart of hearts that Clemens is guilty as sin, and the only reason he got off is because the prosecutors did a shoddy job or that their primary witness-Clemens former trainer-is a lying snake. And you might be right.
But I for one am happy that Clemens got off. It shows that our legal system works. More importantly, it gives us hope that maybe-sometimes-it really ain’t so.