Sports drugs: Worst thing? Or worst thing EVER?

This is on point, I think. At least some:

Now, we must always guard against false equivalencies, and of course no analogy is perfect.

Let’s take a moment, though, and look at this one.

Can we agree that using steroids isn’t as serious a crime as banning whole classes of people from a sport?

We probably can.

Are those crimes related at all, in this context? After all, the steroids we’re talking about were in the 1980s, while the banning happened … well, depending on how you count, before the 1960s. In 1959, the Boston Red Sox — owned by Tom Yawkey, who was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1980, by the way — became the last major-league team to integrate.

In fairness, you might argue that none of our modern Hall of Fame voters have elected any promoters of segregation and discrimination. 

Except of course that’s not true. Just two years ago, a committee elected Jacob Ruppert — an election I supported, by the way — even through Ruppert owned the Yankees for a great number of years before the Yankees integrated. Just seven years ago, a committee elected Barney Dreyfuss, even though Dreyfuss owned the Pirates for a great number of years before the Pirates integrated. Both of these men were intimately involved with the policy to keep any man with even a hint of blackness out of the American and National Leagues.

Which certainly ranks as the greatest stain on our National Pastime.

Now, we might agree that these men were merely the product of their times and their environment, and can’t be held responsible for the evils of their business and their society. We probably can agree.

But then why can’t we agree that players who used steroids in the ’80s and ’90s were a product of their times and their environment? Which should be taken into some consideration when filling out Hall of Fame ballots?

I don’t know. After all these years, I’m still waiting for one of my wiser colleagues to explain that to me.