While folding laundry today I caught the very end of the latest episode of Real Sports, Bryant Gumbel’s HBO show. I watched an entertaining piece about Donald Trump suing the nation of Scotland to stop them from putting up wind turbines. It was what Gumbel said at the end of his show that irked me. He brought up the topic of A-Rod, drug use and the outrage people feel toward him.
Here is his statement:
“Finally tonight, what are we supposed to do with Alex Rodriguez? Embrace him? Pity him? Scorn him? I can easily understand any or all of those reactions because I think he’s a liar and a fraud. But what I don’t understand are the expressions of shock and outrage over his alleged drug use because, frankly, this country’s crazy about drugs.
Modern Americans reach for a drug for any and everything – for problems real and imagined. It’s why we consume more pills than any nation on earth and why TV ads are relentlessly selling us Xarelto, Abilify, Stelara, Prodaxa, and dozens of other drugs we never ever guessed we supposedly needed.
Americans are only about five percent of the world’s population yet we take 80% of the world’s painkillers and a whopping 99% of the world’s Vicodin. We have four million kids on Ritalin, 22-million women on antidepressants, over 30-million adults on sleeping pills, 32 million on Statins, 45 million on another drug I can’t even begin to pronounce. The list goes on and on.
So think what you will of Alex Rodriguez but when so many moms and dads are active parts of a national drug epidemic, let’s stop crying that a ballplayer’s the one setting a bad example for kids. And let’s skip the expressions of outrage and shock because however you may choose to view A-Rod’s alleged drugs use, there’s no denying the ugly reality that that’s become the American way.”
Personally I don’t like A-Rod. I think he is is fraud and a narcissist, incapable of seeing just what a jack ass he is. I also don’t like that he has taken and apparently continued to take steroids during his career as a major league baseball player.
According to Bryant Gumbel, this makes me a hypocrite. I am one of those moms and dad who is taking an active part in our national drug epidemic. He pointed out that we are a nation of drug users, spouting off statistic after statistic, calling out parents who have their kids on Ritalin, women who take anti-depressives, people who take sleeping aids.
Guess what Bryant – I pop a pill every day for my blood pressure; is that cheating? There are kids with real anxiety issues who take medication so they can access the educational process in their classrooms; is that cheating? There are parents of both special needs and typical children alike who suffer a form of PTSD who take medication so they can get through the day without falling apart; is that cheating?
The difference, Mr. Gumbel is that many of these people are popping pills so they can get through the day without having a nervous breakdown or die of a stroke or have a cancer spread throughout their body. Alex Rodriguez took steroids not so he could get to the end of the day or stave off a disease, but so he could cheat his way into a 10-year, 25 million dollar a year contract….twice!
If you can’t see the difference, Mr. Gumbel, I suggest you walk a year or two in the shoes of someone who is dealing daily with the stresses of IEP’s, fighting a system that wants to take away supportive services for their child, the financial burdens of out of school services, the isolation that many people feel because much of their community refuses to see them, the daily meltdowns, the daily wiping of feces off the walls, the constant need to be vigilant not because you are a hovering parent, but because if you don’t, your child could have a seizure in the tub or pool and drown. Or maybe walk in the shoes of someone who can’t get up a flight of stairs because their lungs don’t function properly. Or maybe in the shoes of someone who is in the early stages of cancer.
If you can’t see the difference Mr. Gumbel, then you can kiss my ass.