Derek Jeter's long awaited meeting with the media went off without a hitch on Wednesday afternoon. He said that no one condoned Alex Rodriguez's steroid use, but they support him and hope that everyone can just move on with the season.
Jeter wasn't quite ready to move on himself, however. He took issue with the idea that baseball is or was ever in a Steroid Era, because there were players who didn't take any drugs.
"One thing that's irritating and really upsetting is when people say everybody was doing it," Jeter said. "No, that's not true. Everybody wasn't doing it."
Jeter's right, of course, but this is a case where perception has become reality. Baseball did so little to fight against steroids that, whether Jeter likes it or not, everyone who has played in the last two decades has been painted by the same brush. Jeter may be worse off than others because of the many Yankees who have been accused of or admitted to steroid use. Despite all of that, though, Jeter is still held up as the one guy whose outing as a user would surprise people.
So, if moving forward is the goal, why focus on the past? In a way, Jeter is doing exactly what Bud Selig did when he wagged his finger and told baseball fans not to blame him for the steroid era. Selig wasn't totally to blame for steroids in baseball, but it happened on his watch and he didn't do enough to combat it until the cat was well out of the bag.
Jeter deserves no blame for the existence of steroids in baseball, but he and all the other "clean" players haven't earned the right to be haughty because people look askance at baseball's recent history. They haven't earned the right because they haven't pressed their union to stand up for the clean players. If moving on is really the goal, do it by making a call for a clean game going forward. Anything else is just crying over spilled milk.