Friday, September 7, 2007

Ankiel revelations heartbreaking

By Rick Morris

Last month, I wrote a tribute to Rick Ankiel, the outfielder from the St. Louis Cardinals with one of this year's most inspirational stories. A phenom pitcher who fell apart suddenly and shockingly in 2000, he reinvented himself as a slugging outfielder and burst on the major league scene this summer with a second act the likes of which few of us ever see.

Now, sadly, we may know how this story materialized, and it's not the feel-good story we all perceived.

The New York Daily News reported today that Ankiel received HGH from a Florida pharmacy under federal investigation. If he committed the actions revealed in the report, and it appears strongly that he did, then he traded his soul and his integrity for a quick fix on his way back to the bigs.

To give credit where it is due, I must admit that my former colleague Nick Despones told me he was convinced Ankiel was on something illicit to help in his comeback. I laughed him off, so needless to say he texted me and called me today to rub it in that he was right.

It pains me that he probably was right, and as such, I'm not going to defend Ankiel in the same manner that hateful, race-obsessed idiots went to the mat for Michael Vick. I denounced Vick, so I denounce Ankiel if indeed what appears true is indeed true. I hope that everyone else who advocated penalties for Vick does so for Ankiel so that we can put an end to the vile lie of "You wouldn't be saying this if it was a white boy that did it."

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