President Asterisk

What do Donald Trump, Barry Bonds, and Russia’s 2014 Olympic team all have in common? Cheating! They are all proven cheats—dirty, rotten cheats. Sure, some apologists argue that ‘results are what matter’ but they’re wrong. Accolades and records are all well and good…for now. History, however, is the only true judge and this is what—eventually—brings all the rule-breakers down. 

The Ruskies, ran an elaborate state-sponsored doping ring while hosting the 2014 Olympics and subsequently have had numerous medals stripped. The nation was even banned from the 2018 Winter Games briefly. That penalty was, ultimately, defanged and they were allowed entry but were barred from marching under their own flag, wearing their country’s colours, or even using its name. Every Russian athletic achievement, from now unto eternity, will be viewed with suspicion and doubt. Console yourself with vodka, comrades since all your victories now taste of ashes.

Bonds might very well be the greatest power hitter to ever swing a bat. Yet there hangs a cloud of suspicion over his many feats. He was the poster boy for baseball’s own steroid scandal—going from a lanky speedster to a muscle-bound behemoth that could knock a ball clean into the second deck with the merest flick of his chemically-enhanced wrists. But for all his record-shattering accomplishments Barry Bonds’ obvious use of performance-enhancing drugs could keep him—the Major League’s much-lauded “Homerun King”—out of Baseball’s Hall of Fame, the sport’s ultimate measure. There is, however, a compromise on the table: labelling his accomplishments with an asterisk. 

Many sports purists are against this workaround. “Bonds broke the rules,” they argue. “So what if he never got caught, we know it’s true.” In their minds the unofficial ban should stand, now and forever. Cooperstown, home to the Baseball Hall of Fame, may be forever out of reach to Barry Bonds (as it is to Pete Rose). America’s Game, it seems, holds a grudge. 

Another strong contender for the explanatory historical footnote is the former, forty-fifth president of America. Whether you believe Donald J. Trump was swept to power by the silent majority or by friendly Russian hackers, no one can doubt he is a cheat. He claimed five deferments from the Vietnam draft, the last for a rather convenient (and temporary) set of “bone-spurs”. That minor health issue miraculously kept him out of the jungle but somehow allowed him to play tennis, squash, and football at school the semester previous. He’s cheated on all his wives—having had multiple affairs, including at least one while his wife, Melania, was pregnant! And that doesn’t touch his relationships with Playboy bunnies or porn stars like Stormy Daniels!—and even boasted about his crude pick-up techniques on national TV like some drunken frat boy, secure in the certain knowledge that his daddy’s wealth would shield him from repercussions. He even cheats on his taxes—claiming during the campaign that doing so showed he was “smart”. 

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Evan Vucci/AP/Shutterstock (10434333bm) Donald Trump, Sauli Niinisto. President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto in the Oval Office of the White House, in Washington Trump, Washington, USA – 02 Oct 2019

What’s worse? The man cheats at golf!

True believers defend him (when not chanting “Lock Her Up!” or “Stop the Steal!” like deranged parrots). Ignoring the fact that good leaders always set an example, his followers offer up excuse after excuse for his boorish behaviour. “Strong men never apologize,” is apparently something Trump firmly believes. Well, for a man who idolizes Winston Churchill he acts more like Neville Chamberlain (who, rather than stand up to the fascists, worked to appease the Nazis). Far from defending what’s right “The Donald”, as he’s been known to call himself, acts like “the Appeaser-in-Chief” bending over for Putin and his ilk.

Cheaters, as we used to say, never prosper. History will judge all three…harshly. Expect asterisks beside all their names.

Posted on: January 20, 2021, by :