Shut Up, Johnny Damon

  • Eric Goldschein

johnny damon arodWelcome to SportsGrid’s new Thursday feature, “Shut Up,” (pronounced: “shut up… comma”) where we add a name after the comma, telling that person to stop saying words, because they’re being stupid. Last week, we told Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer that we didn’t want to hear from him anymore. This week, we say: Shut Up, Johnny Damon.

Johnny Damon was a member of the New York Yankees from 2006-2009, and it never felt right. He was a fan favorite, of course, because he was a good player and such a gregarious, easy-going guy that it was impossible not to like him. But as a guy who made his bones on the Red Sox — and helped that team win its first World Series in almost a century — it was never going to be “okay.” He came for the money. We knew that then, and we know it now.

And yet, we are still surprised to hear Johnny’s comments about the A-Rod doping scandal, and how that affects the 2009 title they won together. He spoke on SiriusXM Sports about it, here’s the full clip:

The most salient quote:

“I really haven’t sat down and thought [about the World Series being diminished] but if that’s how he was able to hit in the postseason like he did that year, then yeah, absolutely. Then you start going and saying was anybody [else] on their team cheating.”

OH REALLY, JOHNNY? This World Series is tainted for you, huh? How about you give back all that extra money you got for winning that championship if it bothers you so much? How about the money from the contract you signed with the Tigers in 2010? You think you get that $8 million if you’re not coming off a World Series win? Get outta here.

And strangely, we didn’t hear you throw the Red Sox under the bus when it turned out David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez tested positive for PEDs back in 2003. Both of those players were on the Sox 2004 and 2007 World Series-winning team, and it’s impossible to ignore that Ortiz went from being essentially cut by the Twins in 2002 to slugging 31 homers and 101 RBI for the Sox in 2003. But because Ortiz was never actually “caught” (the results of the 2003 tests were supposed to remain anonymous), we have to pretend that never happened, as Johnny so willfully demonstrates.

The fact is, it’s easy to pile on Alex Rodriguez now. Everybody’s doing it, us included. But someone who profited professionally and personally on A-Rod’s bat should think twice before saying that the ring they won together is tainted now. Or better yet, shut up.

It’s clear now that doping has been woven into the fabric of baseball. You would be hard pressed to find a modern record that was not set without the help of PEDs, or a title won without someone sticking a needle in their butt. It permeates the sport. That’s what Johnny doesn’t want to admit — that even though it was A-Rod who took the juice, everyone on the team felt their performance enhanced.

“I always have been one of the most honest players in baseball and in life.” How nice for you, Johnny. But there’s more to a man than his own claims of how honest he is, and your willful ignorance of the truth in order to obtain the biggest contract possible — not to mention taking that contract despite it coming from a team that you said there was “no way” you would play for — tells me that’s a lesson you still need to learn.

So go sleep soundly, Johnny, as you say you do. Or put your money where your mouth is, for once. Until then, shut up.

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