Bob Nightengale Continues Our Fake News Dilemma
Depending on what your personal politics are, there was a moment or 31 that led you to believe that fake news had become an important issue during the election. For people that follow politics, it was a new and stunning revelation. If you are a baseball fan, particularly one who is invested in Hall of Fame voting, you have been well aware of this problem.
Despite having the numbers to be a first ballot Hall of Famer, Mike Piazza had been largely kept off of people’s ballots due to the unfounded presumption he had used steroids during his career. That is unless you believe noted dermatologist Murray Chass and his unsupported position that Piazza having back acne was a sure indicator of steroid use. Note, there are several causes of back acne in adults that have nothing to do with steroids. Despite that people have used the back acne, as well as Piazza’s physique as the basis for their mostly unfounded belief he used steroids.
What has been peculiar is the same litmus test has been used as an indication that Jeff Bagwell used steroids, but someone like Rickey Henderson did not. Ultimately, what we have seen is a guessing game where some writers are presenting opinions as fact without any reprecussions. And yet, despite the absence of proof on players like Piazza or Bagwell, there are some who continue to insist they used steroids. Worse yet, they are using Piazza’s induction into the Hall of Fame last year as a basis to justify the induction of Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, and other players who have been proven to use steroids. The latest example is Bob Nightengale:
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) January 3, 2017
In his column for USA Today, Nightengale would double-down on this claim:
The BBWAA finally recognizes the absurdity of keeping Bonds and Clemens out of the Hall of Fame but letting Mike Piazza, Bagwell and soon Ivan Rodriguez into the hallowed halls.
Simply put, this is fake news. It is fake news because the is absolutely no documentation, test results or otherwise, that establishes Piazza has used illegal PEDs during his entire career. In the absence of any valid proof, this is fake news not even fit for publications such as The World Weekly News, The Onion, or the National Inquirer. Yet somehow, some way, this was published in USA Today even though it was presented as fact.
Overall, Piazza’s induction into the Hall of Fame establishes is a player who was the greatest hitter at his position deserves enshrinement into the Hall of Fame. If you wanted, you could extend Piazza’s induction coupled with Craig Biggio‘s induction into the Hall of Fame to stand for the proposition that innuendo and unfounded rumors are insufficient to prevent a worthy player from being inducted into the Hall of Fame.
However, you cannot state Piazza’s induction into the Hall of Fame stands for the proposition that steroid users should now be inducted into the Hall of Fame because, simply put, there is no incontrovertible evidence Piazza used steroids. To assert otherwise would be to propagate the issue of fake news in our society.