Huffpost Sports
The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Tom Semioli Headshot

Never Mind the 'Roids of Summer: That's Entertainment!

Posted: Updated:

Question: What do baseball player Ryan Braun and rock singer Scott Weiland have in common? Answer: They are both entertainers who have lost their jobs at one time or another due to drug allegations!

Fortunately for Weiland, his chosen entertainment profession is that of a rock star, so he continues to ply his craft and earn money, even after he was fired from his regular gigs. The supposedly "Stoned" Temple Pilot and Velvet Revolver crooner is currently on a summer tour singing his former band's iconic 1990s anthems with a new ensemble. Ryan Braun is professionally inactive: he cannot ply his craft nor earn money.

It is acceptable in America for rock stars to take drugs. Their tales of debauchery entertain us, along with the music. I have no idea if Scott Weiland is clean or not -- I hope he is as I am entertained by his work and I wish him a long career and continued success. I have no idea if Ryan Braun is clean or not =- I hope he is as I am entertained by his work and I wish him a long career and continued success.

I can predict with reasonable accuracy that when Scott Weiland and his former colleagues require funds (or crave rock star adulation) after years of not selling albums (downloads) in significant numbers; these rock entertainers will consequently regroup and embark on a greatest hits reunion tour, record a new album with songs which replicate their glory years, release a repackaged catalog with bonus tracks, create yet another celebrity tell-all documentary -- all to the delight of STP and Velvet Revolver fans -- all in the name of entertainment.

Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun is not so fortunate, despite the fact that he is in the same business as Weiland and his cohorts: entertainment. Ryan Braun's brand is damaged, probably for good. Unlike rock star entertainers, sports entertainers are deemed by American society to be role models who possess a hunger greater than the general population to play the game, even though many of their skills appear to be genetically inherited, and in some cases, chemically enriched. But it takes more than genetics and performance enhancing drugs to be a star athlete: they do require the dedication, passion, and determination -- and luck -- to realize their fields of dreams.

Ditto rock stars: for every light on Broadway... there's a broken heart...and a Kinko's employee. And if rock stars are not role models for young folks, explain to me the enduring popularity of American Idol, Rock Band, and The Voice. How many baby boomers have named their kids Dylan? Rock School camps in 21st century America have transformed rock 'n' roll into a wholesome family activity not unlike Little League Baseball.

If drugs augmented or inspired Scott Weiland's performance and/or artistry at any point in his career as a rock entertainer; why shouldn't baseball entertainers be afforded the same right? Why should sports entertainers be denied the chance to achieve stardom or to gain a competitive advantage?

Among the biggest sponsors of baseball entertainment and rock music entertainment are "drug" companies: alcohol, pharmaceuticals including drugs that enhance sexual performance, and food companies with sugar and other addictive additives. Everybody is in bed together. Everybody should have freedom of choice with regard to what they put into their bodies. Or choose not to.

Nevertheless, Braun is held to higher standards. In particular, Braun has garnered fame and fortune by hitting a small white ball with a stick, and occasionally by catching that small white ball with his oversized glove and throwing it to one of his fellow entertainers who also get paid exorbitant fees to hit the same small white ball with a stick and throw it back yet another entertainer.

Evidently, hitting a ball with a stick and throwing it is supposed to inspire us; it is thought to represent our national heritage and all that is noble in America with regard to equality, perseverance, and personal sacrifice. Are these people on drugs or what?! Ditto rock music: does anyone understand the lyrics to "Plush?" Are these people on drugs or what?!

We Americans are so enthralled with sticks and balls that we choose to reward baseball entertainers with an average salary of $3,440,000.00 by way of our patronage of Major League Baseball -- which is a collection of privately owned entertainment companies which combine for the purpose of amusing folks who enjoy the above mentioned activities on what is considered to be an exceptional level. The top echelon of rock stars take in millions of dollars for singing songs and packaging their particular brand of self-indulgence to the obsession of their followers. I've interviewed many rock stars, and most have more in common with bank presidents than reckless bohemes. That's entertainment.

In fact, not only do baseball fans and rock fans shell out billions for entertainment related product -- we allow our elected officials to allocate our tax dollars so that these entertainers can display their skills in magnificent edifices, notwithstanding that the majority of Americans are not overly amused by men who hit a small white ball with a stick, nor are they enamored with the clatter of grunge rockers past their prime.

Sports fans wear the garb of their favorite baseball entertainers with whom they identify with; rock fans wear t-shirts with images of their favorite rock star entertainers with whom they identify with. What's the difference?

The funds "we the people" have allocated, directly or indirectly, to sports entertainers with sticks and balls and rock entertainers could be re-directed to afford every child in this country a college education, pay for state-of-the-art universal health care for all citizens, forge advancements in green technology, create jobs, repair infrastructure, care for senior Americans, and essentially eliminate poverty, among other things. But that's not entertainment.

Most American rock fans don't take offense when their favorite rock entertainers use drugs. Baseball fans purchased product in record numbers during the "steroid era" of baseball entertainment. And when steroid use shortens the careers of certain baseball entertainers -- new baseball entertainers, some of whom use drugs, take their place. Same deal with rock stars: when one dies or a career fades, another band comes along with songs and stories often fueled by drug experiences. The games and the gigs continue to thrive. And so do the drugs.

In America, that's entertainment!

Note: Scott Weiland's latest dismissal from STP has not been officially attributed to drug use.

From Our Partners