Red Sox debate: Roger Clemens belongs in Hall of Fame

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Whatever we think we know about Clemens and other suspected PED users, we don’t really know. Even if there isn’t a shadow of a doubt in your mind that Clemens cheated, you can’t possibly know the extent that he used or what effect they had on him. Nobody truly knows how much of an effect these substances have or how much they benefited.

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Trying to figure out which players from the Steroid Era were guilty of using a banned substance is a guessing game that none of us are actually prepared to play. Where do we draw the line? Is it only players that tested positive like Manny Ramirez that should be denied access or do players linked to an overwhelming amount of evidence like Clemens and Barry Bonds belong in that same group? Then there are players like Jeff Bagwell and Mike Piazza that have lost votes simply because they were power-hitters that played in an era where steroid use ran rampant throughout the sport. Guilty until proven innocent.

What about Andy Pettite, an admitted HGH user who crossed the line of using a banned substance in order to recover from a career-threatening injury? Pettite broke the rules, but the alternative was that he may never take the mound again. Don’t we want these multi-million athletes to play? In which case substances that can help them heal faster in order to get back on the field aren’t necessarily a bad thing. Unfortunately Major League Baseball can’t openly condone that because it would be impossible to police, opening a Pandora’s Box of potential abuse.

Players that used PEDs had an unfair advantage over their peers, but during the Steroid Era they were facing competition that included a significant number of players that were also using. Who used and how many are factors that we’ll never know, making it impossible to determine how they would fare if everyone was on an even playing field.

Next: How much do PEDs actually help?