Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 11/15/14
The presumption of innocence is a sacred principle within the United States judicial system. When it comes to baseball, though, it’s becoming harder and harder to jump on board with the whole “innocent until proven guilty” thing, even if we’d like to think the Steroid Era is yesterday’s news. Alex Rodriguez and Gio Gonzalez — two players linked in a damning Miami New Times report to a PED-selling, anti-aging clinic — have already come out and denied any involvement in what is essentially an East Coast version of BALCO. But given baseball’s tainted past and still rehabilitating present, it’s inherently hard to believe any player when allegations such as those published on Tuesday arise. Technically, Rodriguez, Gonzalez and the rest of those named in the Miami New Times report are innocent, despite what appears to be convincing evidence showing they were in some way, shape or form linked to the Biogenesis clinic that allegedly sold performance-enhancing drugs. In the court of public opinion, the allegations already have the players dead to rights, as a cloud will forever hang over their heads –whether deserved or not. In the case of Rodriguez, the recent allegations further squash what had been a legacy already flattened by steroid use. The 14-time All-Star and three-time MVP has had some of the most impressive statistical seasons on record over the course of his big league career, but his 2009 steroid admission — during which the slugger claimed to have taken steroids between 2001 and 2003 — forever tainted his laundry list of accomplishments and cast serious doubt over whether he’ll ever gain enshrinement into Cooperstown. With that in mind, Tuesday’s article in the Miami New Times — which reports that records obtained from the clinic link Rodriguez to banned substances through last season — really just makes a fraudulent career appear that much more so. The same can be said — although to a lesser extent because of their minimal star power — for Melky Cabrera, Yasmani Grandal and Bartolo Colon, all of whom have already been suspended in the past because of PED use. Tuesday’s report won’t add much fuel to those fires, and we’ll simply have to see what comes of the inclusion of Gonzalez and Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz. The biggest takeaway instead is that no matter how much we want to believe baseball is making strides when it comes to cracking down on the use of banned substances, and admittedly the testing process has improved, PEDs will likely always be a pandemic across the game. No matter what type of testing is in place, and no matter how often that testing occurs, there will always be those who look to cheat the system. And in many ways, it’s because certain players would be fools not to given the risks versus the rewards. The biggest defense for players like Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens getting inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame is that they were premium talents regardless of whether or not they ever used performance-enhancing drugs. Rodriguez, once a five-tool prospect, falls into that same category. But other fringe players that have come and gone have made a name for themselves, and in the process obtained significant financial gains, in large part because of a spike in production that coincided with the use of PEDs. Cabrera, for example, was nabbed last season for PEDs, and while he ultimately received a contract this offseason that was of lesser value than it would have been had he gone the whole season without getting caught, the outfielder still managed to reel in a $16 million deal with the Blue Jays. For all we know, had Cabrera never opted for PEDs, he would have remained a middling outfielder on the cusp of falling out of Major League Baseball at any given moment. And so in that sense, it’s hard to fault the guy for rolling the dice and bending the rules in order to gain himself financial security, even if we’d all like to believe most players would opt for professionalism over materialistic gain. The fallout of Tuesday’s Miami New Times report is perhaps just beginning. At this point, though, it’s more about what has stayed the same in the wake of the Steroid Era than what has changed. It’s rather discouraging to proceed with a “boys will be boys” mindset, but the fact that there will always be some risk-takers is the only thing that’s abundantly clear each time a new allegation surfaces. The presumption of innocence should thus be replaced with an inherent skepticism — even if it’s not an ideal way to enjoy a great game. Have a question for Ricky Doyle? Send it to him via Twitter at @TheRickyDoyle or send it here.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Duke takes over as the No. 1 recruiting class

Kevin Love not expected to be available next series

Titans have reportedly been 'all over' Marcus Mariota

Report: Browns talked with Redskins about trading up

Doc Rivers tore into Clippers in film room after blowout loss

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Jon Jones facing felony charge for leaving scene of crime

Josh Hamilton officially traded back to Rangers

Report: Landing Adrian Peterson too costly for Cardinals

Report: Antonio Brown joins Steelers voluntary work outs

Charles Barkley: JR Smith should be suspended 10 games

Report: Redskins likely to pick up Robert Griffin III's option

Report: Brady was at stadium day of White House visit

Arkansas has leather belt to commemorate Texas Bowl win

John Angelos, Orioles got it right with Freddie Gray protest

Belichick's girlfriend fine with coach checking out Teigen

V. Stiviano posts birthday message to 'BFF' Donald Sterling

Mark Cuban and the inevitable playoff peril of the Mavs

Wizards made Raptors look bad while remaking themselves

Previewing Game 7 showdown between Islanders and Capitals

WATCH: Rick Carlisle tapes mouth shut so he can't rip refs

NFL Draft 2015: Ranking the quarterbacks

Greg Hardy faces teammate, Cowboys locker room leak

Top 10 storylines for the 2015 NFL Draft

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Duke takes over as the No. 1 recruiting class

Titans have been 'all over' Mariota?

Doc Rivers tore into Clippers after loss

Jon Jones facing felony charge

Worst picks ever by every NFL franchise

Report: Cowboys not in on Peterson

NFL Draft 2015: Ranking the QBs

Top 10 storylines for the 2015 NFL Draft

Paul Pierce trolls Raptors fans

Yes, ESPN2 is airing video games

Darko Milicic is enjoying life

Pitcher throws perfect game, still loses

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.