During a good period of that time I spent my hard earned money on merchandise with the number 32 on it. The number 32 at the time belonged to Josh Hamilton. Hamilton as you may know is a super star with a long history of problems. He had an epic rise and fall and rise from the number one overall draft pick to drug problems to coming back big with the Texas Rangers. His last year with the Texas Rangers was filled with struggles, injury, and fan perception that he quit on the team. However, in the 5 years that Hamilton played for the Rangers I do not believe you would have found a group of fans more in love with a player or more accepting of a man's failures and apologies. Not when he fell from grace in a local bar and not when he struggled during his contract year. Not until his final at bat with the team did it finally hit this fan that he truly gave up on this team and the group of fans and did I call him a quitter. I was done with Hamilton when he walked off the field without trying that last at bat and I have never regretted it.
So why am I writing about him now? Today Major League Baseball was forced to reinstate Hamilton, with pay by an arbitrator even though he admittedly used drugs. Hamilton who is forced to take drug tests due to his prior drug history, went to MLB and told them he was going to fail because he used drugs. Okay. Whatever. Here is my problem, we glorify atheletes to a point that is so insane that we make excuses when they repeatedly fail and we let them get away with it. In no other profession except 'professional athlete' is it okay to repeatedly break the law and still have a job. If a school teacher, police officer, insurance agent, electrician, truck driver, or plumber failed a random drug test they would be fired. They would not be give 3 chances to redeem themselves. They would not be suspended with or without pay and sent to a rehab clinic. At least not in most cases. They certainly are not making millions of dollars a year. Stressfilled, back breaking, agonizing jobs that most Americans have and get paid miniscule amounts for especially relative to athletes and yet repeatedly you see all-star athletes in trouble with the law and nobody cares.
NFL players who have sexual assualt charges that 'disappear', physical abuse charges that are 'misunderstandings', and then there is Hamilton.
Now we get to the Angels statement that Hamilton deserved better than a public trial. I don't think anyone judged him really but honestly given the amount of money I have spent on his merchandise over the years I have every right to speak my opinon on the matter. My money spent on tickets to watch him play. My money spent on his T-shirts when I thought he was being honest about who he was. My money supporting his book. I feel duped by him. I feel lied to by him. I have a right to express the fact that I do not believe that Josh Hamilton is who he pretends to be and while I hope that someday he does truly find Jesus and someday he truly does get the monkey off his back, I also wish he would stop using his faith as a crutch and stop using his illness as an excuse. In my opinion, he has used up all my sympathy I had left a long time ago. I don't honestly care if he plays or not as a fan because he isn't on my team but as a person I think it is a terrible message to send to kids everywhere that it is "OK to do bad things if you are a good athlete."
So if the Angels and certain writers want professional athletes to be treated fairly by the American public, then they need to be treated just like all the rest of us. Just like the plumber who breaks his back every day and maybe has one joint with his friends for the first time ever on a friday night and fails a random drug test on Monday morning and loses his job and can't support his family. That would be an actual tragedy. That would be something to feel a little bit sympathetic about. Feeling sorry for a rich, athlete who is a repeat offender and falls on his faith as an excuse everytime he fails. Well, the era of TV televangalism and Tammy Fay Baker is over. I don't need the fake tears.