Sports Black Eyes, Popeye and the Media

As inevitable as the Mitchell Report response was, how long will it be before we get the headline:

“Popeye denies he knew spinach was a performance enhancing drug”.

“I had no idea. I was just eating my vegetables. It was supposed to make me stronger. It was what, 30 or more years ago ? How much did we really know about the properties of spinach back then ? Why is the media making such a big deal out of this ? I didn’t know then and I am paying the price today. Divorce. Family loss. Boomerang dropped the show because of all the fuss you guys are making. My last source of real income, gone.”

Leading into the inevitable interviews with Brutus saying that he knew something was up but pressure from the Network kept him from speaking up. So he took his beatings. All of which eventually led to weekly, then daily therapy sessions and his current addiction to anti-depressents.

Olive Oil will refuse all informal interviews, but we will be able to dissect some of her problems she attributed to Popeye’s mood swings and spinach habit from TMZ.Com interviews as she shops for her Depends at Greenbergs Pharmacy near her apartment in Burbank.

And Sweat Pea ? He has disappeared. Not seen since his stint on a VH1 reality show a couple years ago.

Our society loves gossip and the media loves to report it. What the sports media has to understand is the difference between reporting gossip and reporting news. I’m not saying that the Mitchell Report shouldnt be reported and commented on. It should. For a couple days. Then it should be relegated to industry trade press and gossip pages. Sports fans want sports.

Its ok to mention and report about popeye being in the spinach report, but don’t beat it to death. Tell us about baseball

38 thoughts on “Sports Black Eyes, Popeye and the Media

  1. Mark, I thought you might like this. I read HGH, the hormone everyone is raving about, doesn\’t work on a body builder web site. Then I went and saw that someone actually did a formal study that shows HGH does not work:

    I also looked up to see whether androstenedione, the stuff Mark McGuire admitted to taking, was effective. That also did not work. See the link:

    Testosterone and its synthetic equivalents does work to increase muscle mass and its performance, so the media is not totally off its rocker. But I just found it interesting that with all the media hysteria about HGH, andro, and cheating, no one in the media bothered to see if these substances actually worked.

    Comment by jz -

  2. Uh, what is the matter with you people?

    Do you want to pay good money to see mediocre performances?

    Cheating is defined by the rules of the game.

    Do you want to see Bonds hit the ball a million miles?
    Do you want to see Clemens mow done batters?
    Do you want to see [inset favourite shortstop] peg out the runner from deep in the hole?

    If you don\’t want to see this, please invite me to you team\’s training camp.

    I am positive that as 50 year old, never none performance enhancing medicine, I can make the team.

    I cannot hit; I cannot pitch; and I rarely throw out runners as a catcher.

    You must be thrilled looking forward to my mediocrity.

    Comment by michael webster -

  3. People dont realize that Popeye comes from am old sailing merchant family in a culture that has revered ingesting spinach for centuries.
    For most of history, Popeyes people used spinach responsibly in ceremonies and for the most part kept its ill effects under control.
    Popeye has fallen in the eyes of his family and now wanders the seven seas in a haze of violence and lost love.

    Comment by Mohjho -

  4. These drugs are illegal, it\’s as simple as that. You can\’t just look the other way when these sports figures use them just because of who they are while you have 2 million in jail for drug charges.

    Comment by API Treesstand -

  5. when people read about Roger Clemens doing drugs and Michael Vick \”hanging out\” with the dogs, and Nascar girlfrends beating the crap out of each other, it connects people with their sports, even if it is a bad connection.

    Comment by sex shop -

  6. Steroids are like brass knuckles to a boxer. It wouldn\’t be a fair fight unless each opponent had a pair.

    If one is opposed to an outright ban on synthetic enhancements, then it\’d seem that separate leagues – predicated on supplementals or not – would have fairer alternative than to settle for mismatches.

    Comment by Jim Hart -

  7. I do not agree. The Mitchell report has made me question whether I am wasting my time being a sports fan. Steriod users are cheaters – why should I root for them or the teams that hire them? I want the best man or woman to win – the one who trains the hardest and is the most determined – not the one who cheats the best. Sports is not entertainment like a sit-com – its only interesting to me if its on the level.

    Remember the Miracle on Ice? It\’s my favorite sports memory. If I found out that victory over the Russians was fake and created in a lab rather than through the determination of those players, I would feel like a fool. It was an inspiring moment of human (not chemical) achievment. If games are not on the level, I want nothing to do with them.

    Comment by Scott Lewis -

  8. wait, sweet pea was a guy?!

    Comment by lee -

  9. Youre a numbers guy, right Mark? You like to analyze many different situations through the numbers Im sure. Baseball fans, the ones that really love the game, analyze the numbers, historically, currently, and projected into the future. How can you trivialize this situation when an era of Americas pastime is tainted? How do you suggest baseball moves forward from here? Sure, springtime will come around and baseball will startup and we will all be happy to go to the ballpark or to have the game on the AM as a backdrop to whatever else we may be doing. But the questions will still be there as to how to handle the numbers of the Steroid Era. Any suggestions? I have my own thoughts, but Im still taking in the facts as they come in through the media.

    Comment by Bob Wegener -

  10. Popeye? Ha! We watch Boomerang for the Pink Panther.

    Comment by MC Welk -

  11. I enjoyed this blog if only because I finally found one where I completely disagree with you.

    Comment by Emre Sessiz -

  12. The decisions made by several baseball players of the 1990s and beyond had a rippling effect into our society. We, the people, want to know. We want to know why our sons want to chew tobacco behind our backs, sneak in a shot of steroids, and maybe even think it is cool to chop an opponent\’s head off during a hockey game.

    We clean it up at the top, and it cleans up society.

    So you want to talk \’baseball\’ and not this report? Baseball without the players would be simply a grassy field without the pesticides….

    How about discussing the environmental impact of our society of sport, specifically on the golf greens? that would be newsworthy.

    Comment by greg -

  13. Mark,

    I agree – to an extent. I don\’t think that the media should spend all their time on a report like this – but on the other hand – I\’d say it is a question of morality – Why is it okay for sports players to break the rules and get away with it? What\’s it worth to take a team to the finals or the superbowl or the world series? Sure there are some 9-5ers out here that don\’t play by the rules BUT when they get caught do they get overlooked – heck no their ass gets fired. There are plenty of people out there that can hit home runs, catch balls, be a quarter back, shoot some hoops, write software apps, work in factories and so on AND we DO NOT need any performance handling drugs to do so!! I\’d say the report does need to be put out (maybe not all the time it has received though) and if you are on the list – well then stop your crying – you broke the rules and now accept your punishment


    Comment by James -

  14. Mark,

    Why are you inconsistent?

    Comment by Brian -

  15. I think that is the hypocrosy of it all. You have cheaters, who altered the game, in the Hall of Fame. It was mentioned Gaylord Perry (and others), who would use vasceline to give better breaks on his pitches, increasing his strike outs. You have batters who use corked bats, and players who were consistently being busted for other drugs (cocaine, antiphetamines, etc).
    But they ban Pete Rose for life, for betting. They even banned Steinbrenner at one point for the same thing, then he was let back in by Bud Selig. Look, my thing is if you\’re going to single out players for this and blackball them, you need to single out all of the cheaters, and ban them all.
    The players can argue all they want that it wasn\’t against the rules of MLB, nor does it give you good eye-hand coordination. But it was against the law (without a legitimate prescription), and you already have the \”good eye-hand coordination\” which is why you are in the big leagues to begin with. In the long run of things, it doesn\’t matter anymore. All sports are controlled by gamblers anyway.

    Comment by Nate -

  16. I\’m sick and tired of hearing about the use of LEGAL drugs. If its against the RULEs of the game then deal with it internally. If the league is so damn concerned about their rule being broken then how about a one strike and youre out rule. Test, fail, out for good. OR shut the hell up.

    Mark, whats going on with the CUBS ????????

    Comment by Knox Real Estate -

  17. Ok, so I agree it\’s entertainment… so is wrasslin! Is that what we want the other \”professional\” sports to become, anything goes for the sake of entertainment? I don\’t think so.

    Having said that, let me throw out these two jewels…

    1. It\’s not fair to compare baseball (or any other pro sport) of today with baseball of 100, even 50 years ago. My grandfather played professional baseball in the late 20s and early 30s…. and worked for a cotton mill in the off-season. The balls were different, fields not as pristine, uniforms were hot, blah blah blah. Fair? No, it\’s not fair. So what else is new?

    2. I\’m not convinced all the guys in the Mitchell report knew at the time they were taking it that it was a prohibited substance. I\’d go so far as to say some of these guys probably thought they were bending over backward to KEEP from breaking the rules! And for that matter, were the substances banned at the time they were taken? (I don\’t know, just wondering out loud).

    – Thom

    Comment by Thom Rigsby -

  18. mark what does your post even mean? i\’m still trying to decipher it. you are an enigma wrapped inside a riddle my friend.

    Comment by jake -

  19. Hey Mark, Here\’s the thing most people miss. Spinach wasnt illegal, any body get that? Roids are no different if they are illegal then Coke, Meth, Speedballs, etc. Like my mom who is eighty says. If weed was legal I would try it. You gotta have some rules dude. As much as it sucks if you dont everything will turn to anarchy. If there wasnt a rule against Cobb sharpening his spikes its not illegal. Until the cosmetic act was passed a lot of things were ok but that was over 65 years ago. I hate rules too but they\’re something we all need, especially guys like me and you. Last but not least, I dont think there is a person here that wants thier son or daughter growing up sticking needles in their body to win a trophy for starters and a one in a million, yes, one in a million shot of making it to the big leagues. Thanks for the thoughts.

    Comment by Frankie from Lawnside -

  20. I think the ones that are truly shocked and angered by this are the sports writers themselves and especially those that focus on baseball. I believe they feel cheated, like if the writers of Pro Wresteling Weekly suddenly found out their sport was fake. Just think what it would feel like to find out that the one thing your life and well being revolved turned out to be fraudulent.

    Comment by Jeff -

  21. I have to disagree with your comment, \”Tell us about baseball.\” We have to suffer through baseball all summer. Let\’s hear about the NFL and NBA. Save talking about baseball until the World Series.

    Comment by techguy -

  22. Mark,

    I agree, the way the media covers stories like this is a bit ridiculous. People act shocked that professional athletes whom have millions riding on their year to year performance would use some sort of enhancement drugs.

    If you told the average 9-5 worker they could make a few million dollars more and move up the corporate ladder quicker just by taking a pill, there is no doubt they would.

    Of course there is risk to your body and well being. But this doesn\’t stop all the \”legal\” drug use that is equally unhealthy such as booze and cigarettes from being abused…… and these don\’t even increase your income or performance.

    The media needs to stop acting like this is earth shattering news.


    Comment by Jeremy Enke -

  23. Mark

    I enjoyed this blog if only because I finally found one where I completely disagree with you.
    Steroids ruin the athletes that use them and the sport they play. They need to be fully exposed to the light of day and eliminated.

    Comment by John Palazzo -

  24. \”I was just eating ME vegetables.\” 😉

    Is it that much of a stretch to back this out to news in general. When was the last time that you turned on your (TV?) news and got anything more than the last story (or two if it is a particularly good day), a report of \”heart lifting news\”? Rarely, if ever, anymore.

    When did \”news\” become synonymous with \”BAD\” news? That is what it has all become. And the differences between \”gossip\”, \”trade journals\” and \”legitimate\” news sources isn\’t even a blurry line. THERE IS NO LINE anymore!

    Seriously! Some of us live a lot of our lives in the \”blogosphere\” which gets blasphemed by the \”legitimate press\” and \”real journalists\” for creating an echo chamber and not going out of the way to truly \”report the news\”. Why? It is so much easier to let someone else do the work while we read their output, sit on our asses and add our 2 cents worth (which more times than not, that\’s about what those opinions are worth!)

    And the cornucopia of \”news reporting outlets\” in the \”real media\” are not much different. It just ends up being much, much easier jumping on a real story and adding to the opinion flow.

    So, be it sports reporting on enhancements, or network coverage of a political campaign, if its BAD we are going to hear a lot of a lot about it. If it\’s good, well, TiVo the last 2 minutes of the broadcast!

    Comment by James D Kirk -

  25. Mark,

    To say that the media should talk about baseball and not the lifestyles of the players and coaches and front offices is in some way to destroy the culture that the major organizations (MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL, Nascar,etc…) have built.
    The truth is when people read about Roger Clemens doing drugs and Michael Vick \”hanging out\” with the dogs, and Nascar girlfrends beating the crap out of each other, it connects people with their sports, even if it is a bad connection.
    Unfortunately, (and this is nothing people don\’t know) as Brittney going nutso and Paries going to jail sells People magazines, Andy Petite saying \”I did it\” will get us to check out SI, ESPN, or

    Comment by Marty -

  26. Hang on…

    I don\’t see how the systematic and endemic use of performance enhancing drugs in a national sport can be over-reported.

    It\’s not an academic point to be mulled over in some committee room somewhere – it\’s final acknowledgment that the sport has paid lip-service to any real concern about performance-enhancing drug use for years.

    When Olympic gold medal winners like Ben Johnson or Marion Jones are stripped of gold medals in the Olympics, that\’s big news around the world.

    This isn\’t some small deal. Like cycling, the sport is now tainted, and it\’s up to the sport to clean up its act – something it\’s going to have to do very publicly.

    Comment by Adam Bowie -

  27. Then it should be relegated to industry trade press and gossip pages.

    You mean, ESPN, SI, Foxsports, Sportsline, and all of their associated media properties, right?

    Got it.

    Comment by queuno -

  28. This will be reported on as long as the public is interested in its progress and its outcome. I agree that these sports are for entertainment but without competition they are not able to exist. But don\’t steroids make the sport more competitive?i think that if these athletes are spending 6 plus hours in a gym each day, that it shouldn\’t matter what supplements they are taking as long as they aren\’t risking their lives doing so.
    Mr Cuban you are right in the fact that this press is only bad for the sports but there is no escaping its demand, only ways to deal with it

    Comment by braden mcloughlin -

  29. Hey Mark,

    I agree that it is over done a bit…if they had been doing what they were suppose to be doing this would not have happened, it would have been nipped in the bud long ago. Kinda like the special interests in DC…now that should be cut down from it\’s roots.

    As long as there are hordes of folks listening to the media…it will have to come up with something to say. Look at all the people who watch fox…and anyone who thinks for themselves knows what hack news that is.

    Keep on being you…

    Comment by J -

  30. Mark-

    I agree that they shouldn\’t harp on it. My take on the steroid issue is this: If baseball didn\’t catch them, I don\’t care. It\’s baseball\’s job to keep an eye on the sport. I won\’t cheer as loud for the guys they are finding out or have caught, but I can\’t sit here and say McGwire, Bonds, or Clemens deserve to have anything stripped from them, because they were never caught.

    I like to believe that when I\’m watching any sport (basketball is my favorite) that I\’m watching athletes that have sharpened their talents and overcome obstacles. If they cheat and get caught, I\’m not a fan anymore. But I guess I like to take the naive approach and believe that what I\’m watching is real.

    As for Post #10 \”Triple T.\” Takes a real man(?) to make a post like that. Obviously you haven\’t checked into Mark\’s resume to see how Patriotic and American he really is. So what he hit the jackpot with Great. But he also bought a franchise that quite frankly no one was interested in and turned them into a premiere yearly contender. Regardless of what you think, success in a sports franchise runs from the top to the bottom and vice-versa simultaneously. Doesn\’t really sound like a moron to me.

    Comment by Mark -

  31. Back then I was so wrapped up in my hamburger habit, I really never stopped to think about how Popeye got so strong. Every Tuesday the bill came due and I lost a lot of friends, hurt a lot of people I loved. I wish P had come to me; I like to think I could\’ve steered him right. God, but he could throw a punch. And whistle too. Freakish good whistler.

    Comment by Blimpie -

  32. Very humorous Mr. Cuban.

    While I do love a bit of creative writing, I can\’t help but feel a tad suspicious.

    An owner of a professional sports team, painting a report of illegal substance use in another professional sport as a distraction and unecesary? Color me shocked.

    I\’m sure Mr. Cuban is completely justified in making these statements, since noone on his team has ever engaged, nor will ever engage in any similar behavior.

    Because if they did, and Mr. Cuban wrote something like this anyway, well it would make him look foolish.

    Of course, I could be wrong.

    Comment by Mike G. -

  33. You are so right, Mark!

    I cannot believe the amount of front page coverage the New York Times gave to this story. Like it was the Biggest News Story of the Year?! It should have been how the Democrats just sold-out the American People on the Farm Bill; another Six Years of Americans Gaining More Weight, Becoming more Obese and more Diabetics. Woo-hoo!

    Comment by Jack -

  34. I am deeply disappointed by rampant steroid use in baseball. I will watch football instead.

    Comment by Dom -

  35. How about this; performance enhancing medicine is good.

    Sports fans pay good money to watch superlative performance.

    So now we have to pay to see performance which is not enhanced?

    Comment by michael webster -

  36. I do agree with your opinion as well.Media is always making such a big deal out of those kind of things, which looks so ridiculous sometimes.

    Comment by Echo -

  37. I think that you might be giving the media a little too much credit. I don\’t actually watch sports because I have a young family and that\’s where my attention is but, I think this report is important.

    I don\’t think it\’s good idea to be cavalier with the truth and it\’s even a worse idea to bullshit the home team no pun intended.

    Best wishes to you and the people close to you.

    Comment by Val -

  38. I could not agree more. Who cares?? The world of sports invites cheating. Ty Cobb sharpened his spikes to make him feared on the basepaths, Gaylord Perry perfected the spitter, today\’s athletes are just taking advantage of what modern science is providing them. If baseball, or any sport for that matter, wants to eliminate drugs all they have to do is institute a random blood test. Will the union agree? Hell no. Why should they. The integrity of the sport? That assumes that there was integrity to begin with.
    Sports is supposed to be entertainment. Would I be entertained with Barry Bonds hitting singles or Roger Clements striking out two batters per game? I don\’t think so.
    Let\’;s get on with it. Everyone knew the names that were going to be on the list. The only surprise is the names that should be there but are not.
    Let\’s move on.

    Comment by MIke Genette -

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