Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Integrity of the Game

On Thursday Major League Baseball released the results of "The Mitchell Report" detailing steroid use in baseball. Don't worry, this isn't another Barry Bonds rant. Instead, what catches my attention is how strongly and quickly the players deny every detail. Honestly, I don't care who did or who didn't use, I just want someone, anyone, to stand up and say, "I did it, and I take responsibility." And I really don't care about any records or asterisks, either. I just care about the "integrity of the game." That phrase is tossed around a lot, but what does that mean, anyway?

Well, The American Heritage Dictionary defines integrity as "Steadfast adherence to a strict moral or ethical code." And dictionary.com follows that definition up with "honesty." I like this definition from Proverbs myself, "A truthful witness gives honest testimony, but a false witness tells lies." (Pr 12:17) To me, integrity is letting your "yes be yes and your no, no." (Mt 5:37, Js 5:12)

In this case, it means that all those players who do the Sign of the Cross, thank God for their accomplishments, and face the world when a microphone is shoved in their faces tell the honest to God truth. And athletes aren't the only ones I wish this for. How many religious leaders who claim to speak for God have been brought low by scandal that was denied for who knows how long before the truth could no longer be hidden. I think of the Catholic priests, the Ted Haggards, the Bob Jones Jrs, and on and on. Why is it so hard in this world to find someone who you can trust to tell the truth?

But instead we live in a fallen world being led by sinners just like you and me. I know I'm not honest all the time. We've all told that "white lie" to protect our self interest. But at the same time, I'm not thanking God for something I should really be thanking a chemist for. It's one thing to lie to save face or to stay out of trouble (not that I'm excusing that either), but it's another thing to credit God for your accomplishments that you attained by any and every means necessary.

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