Column: Pete Rose, A-Roid, other cheaters should not be celebrated


Three cheers for A-Roid for his 3,000th hits!

Can I get an “amen!” for Lance Armstrong, King of the Tour de France and blood doping?

St. Louis Cardinals? You are blowing this techno-junkie’s mind with your subterfuge!

Does Pete Rose belong in the Baseball Hall of Fame? Bet on it!

Congratulations, America! We’ve become a nation of apologists and enablers. We’re into blissful, mind-numbing acceptance, with a smidge of ambivalence, when it comes to cheating in sports.

Everybody pretty much has gone the Pee-wee Herman line of defense:

“I know you are but what am I?”

Everybody does it!

When that sounds weak, the default excuse is usually, “Look at the numbers! The [blank] Hall of Fame wasn’t built to honor great character!”

That’s been the party line for Pete Rose, the all-time hits king who tried playing the ultimate con game on integrity by betting on baseball while managing the Cincinnati Reds. Or so we thought.

ESPN’s Outside the Lines is reporting that Rose bet extensively on baseball — and on his team, the Cincinnati Reds — as a player in 1986.

Oops. This disturbing news tidbit, and the accompanying betting slips, proves Rose has been caught lying. Again.

Done. You are not worthy.

Looks like it’s time for all the Pete Rose apologists to step up their game. And that’s what will happen, of course. Cheats, miscreants and sinners are America’s new anti-heroes. Rebels With a cause who can do no wrong.

When did cheating become so acceptable in sports? And so prevalent?

Rodriguez and the St. Louis Cardinals should send Rose a bouquet of roses. His nonsense trumps all the other nonsense involving cheaters that’s been going on … just in the span of one week. Rodriguez would love for us to forget about that unsightly stain on his 3,000 hits.

Rodriguez reportedly may have been taking PEDs back in the days when he was a star at Westminster Christian High School in South Florida. Rodriguez admitted to steroids use in 2009 when he played for the Texas Rangers, asked for forgiveness, and then kept on pumping his body with ‘roids and other banned drugs later in his career.

All the while, he lied, deflected, dodged and weaved, going as far as suing the Players’ Association. It wasn’t quite up to the gold medal standards of Armstrong, who viciously tried to take anyone down if they dare question the purity of his seven Tour de France titles.

Armstrong eventually got his comeuppance, despite some unwavering support. Here comes the spin move: Armstrong is a “champion in the fight against cancer” (even though that deal is a false premise in the context of sports).

There’s also a lot of good in Armstrong. Ask countless cancer patients. That’s why it’s ridiculous to assign black and white labels to athletes. People are complicated, and those shades of gray are much more prevalent now that the Internet has become a 24-7 Big Brother watching over us.

Babe Ruth would have never survived the Internet age, since he hit the trifecta as a man who gorged on a steady diet of hot dogs, beer and women.

Babe got off light but the others won’t. At least in theory. Modern day sinners are always cast in a different light to condone their behavior. Rose is a “gritty competitor.” Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots is an “evil genius.” Armstrong is a “cancer survivor and hero.”

There’s no doubt the Rose apologists are preparing the defense dossier for their boy, whose stench as an unsavory character has lingered for decades. It’s a variation of the defense dossier for the hundreds of baseball players who juiced up over the last two decades. Wonderful. I hate to sound like that parent, but just because Barry and Jose and Mark and Sammy and Rafael are doing it, does that mean it’s OK for you to do it too?

It’s wrong.

Cheaters all.

All together now:

I know you are but what am I?

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