It’s been a momentous few days for sports — locally, nationally and abroad.
But from Miami to Rio, looming high over all great athletic accomplishments is the scourge of performance-enhancing drugs. They are ruining the integrity we want to see in sports, or at least our belief that sports can teach us life lessons about teamwork, perseverance, dealing gracefully with victory — and bouncing back when you fall.
The damage was on display Sunday when Alex Rodriguez, the controversial Miami-raised slugger for the New York Yankees, announced that he’ll play his last game with the team on Friday.
Mr. Rodriguez, a one-time local phenom from Westminster Christian School, will not get a ticker-tape parade. No orchestrated, large-scale goodbye at the stadium, like Derek Jeter received. He will simply walk away from the Yanks, after they walked away from him. He might play for another team, but he can never erase the asterisk next to his name. What a shame.
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Mr. Rodriguez’s accomplishments are staggering: 3,114 hits, 696 homers, 2,084 RBIs, 2,021 runs, 329 stolen bases. No matter. His legacy has been tainted, and rightly so.
Unfortunately, he will be remembered more for his admission that he used performance-enhancing drugs — after years of denials — and for his 162-game suspension in 2014 that resulted from his involvement in the Miami-based Biogenesis scandal.
When he returned to the field, Mr. Rodriguez sought to make amends with management and fans. But Americans don’t like cheaters, plain and simple. It was a point made clear Sunday at the Rio Olympics, where Russian athletes are under intense scrutiny. There were boos when swimmer Yulia Efimova entered the pool area for her preliminary heat on the 100-meter breaststroke. It is well-known that she was suspended for doping, and earlier this year she failed a test for meldonium, though the result was overturned.
Ms. Efimova was among the Russian athletes first barred from the Games because of a state-sponsored doping program at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. But she was quietly reinstated and allowed to compete — to the displeasure of athletes such as American swimmer Lilly King, who openly mocked the Russian for celebrating after qualifying over the weekend. “You’re shaking your finger ‘No. 1’ and you’ve been caught for drug cheating,” she said of Ms. Efimova, whom she faced in the pool Monday — and defeated to win a gold medal. Ms. Efimova won the silver medal. “Yes, I wanted to make a statement,” Ms. King said after her victory.
Her frustration is understandable. The International Olympic Committee delivered a weak-kneed response to the widespread Russian doping scandal that left it up to individual sports federations to decide which athletes got to compete. But the fact is the Russian government, not a few renegade athletes, facilitates doping. Without resolute condemnation from the IOC, clean athletes are left with the impression that they are at a disadvantage if they don’t dope up.
But there are still magical moments from sports worth celebrating. Case in point: Sunday, the Miami Marlins’ Ichiro Suzuki, gray haired at 42, became the 30th player in major league history to record 3,000 career hits.
Right there is the life lesson on perseverance and integrity.
The Aug. 8 School Board recommendations mischaracterized the tax approved to fund the Children’s Trust. The 2002 referendum allowed the Trust to levy up to 50 cents per $1,000 of property tax value.