Last week, former Senator George Mitchell produced his expose of the steroid and Human Growth Hormone (HGH) scandal that has rocked Major League Baseball. It named names; big ones. Over the weekend, news came out that one of those players, Andy Pettite admitted to taking HGH. Pettite has been a star pitcher for the New York Yankees and Houston Astros for many years. His name being linked to the scandal was a shock. The fact that he’s “coming clean” is very refreshing.
Mitchell’s report included Pettite for just a few pages and never linked him to steroids. Pettite acknowledges that he only used HGH back in 2000 for two days while recovering from injury. He was injected by the man who also “outed” potential Hall of Famer Roger Clemens. Clemens has been implicated in a much larger role for both steroids and HGH, which has put his once lock solid election into the Hall now in jeopardy.
What’s most refreshing about Pettite is that he didn’t waste any time confirming his use of HGH. At the time, it was not a banned substance, so in his mind he wasn’t breaking any rules. His sole purpose was to re-gain his health more quickly, and he had heard HGH could do this. The fact that he came out so quickly and corroborated the story, pledged his allegiance to the integrity of baseball, and issued no bitterness towards the report makes me believe him. That and the fact that Pettite has always been viewed as an upstanding guy only add credence to his statements.
This is in stark contrast to Clemens, who issued a tersely worded statement through his attorney that he never used steroids. The preponderance of evidence, plus the fact that Pettite’s story links the same trainer, makes one lean towards not believing Clemens. “The Rocket” is at an age that seems inconceivable that he his body has held out as it has. He has struggled with injuries over the past years and it makes one wonder what steps he would take to perhaps be considered the greatest pitcher to ever live. Now, regardless of whether you believe him or not, or whether there is any firm evidence, his name has been tarnished and sits alongside Barry Bonds with a mental asterisk next to it.
I don’t know Roger Clemens to judge his character. My gut feeling is he’s guilty. My gut also tells me Andy Pettite is a stand-up guy who wasted little time facing the music. The fact his name surfaced will quickly subside.
Think about the power of honesty in your world – personal and business. Have you ever dealt with people who have been, let’s say, less than forthright? How has that impacted you? The bottom line is that in the relationship driven world we will always live in, honesty is more than just the best policy. It’s the most important one.