Chipper Jones: A Class Act for Avoiding Performance-Enhancing Drugs?

Shaun PayneContributor IIFebruary 28, 2012

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 26:  Chipper Jones #10 of the Atlanta Braves barehands a grounder by Carlos Ruiz #51 of the Philadelphia Phillies in the sixth inning at Turner Field on September 26, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Chipper Jones believes he did things "the right way" because he did not use performance-enhancing drugs. 

Jeff Schultz, in a blog post on the, quoted Jones and had this to say about the situation:

Jones will go into the Hall of Fame one day. He will be in a special group of players who, as he said, “have done it right. The guys who get done with their career and make it through the so-called steroid era unscathed, that’s a huge feather in our cap.

Assuming Jones is being honest about whether he used PEDs (and we have no reason to believe that he's being dishonest), he indeed deserves credit for taking a stand—at least when it came to his own career—about refusing to use PEDs.

But then we get to some of the comments under this article, like this one from Tim:

And this folks is why everyone young baseball should look up to Chipper Jones as a role model for how to play baseball the right way! Thanks Chipper!

While he deserves credit for avoiding PEDs, let's not pretend that Chipper Jones is and has always been an upstanding human being.  Chipper Jones had an affair with a Hooters waitress and impregnated her. 

Again, from Schultz's blog:

“Yeah. I mean, definitely,” the Braves’ almost-40 third baseman said Monday when asked if he ever considered using performance-enhancing drugs. “You see peers doing it. You see contemporaries on other teams doing it and putting up [big] numbers. But at that point in my career, while I didn’t have kids yet, and I thought, I don’t want to jeopardize their lives [with the backlash] one day.”


Really?  Chipper was worried about his future children when it came to dealing with the PED issue but how about when he was fooling around with a Hooters waitress?

Some fans praised Chipper for staying away from PEDs, going so far as to call him a "class act" and someone to whom young fans should look up, while forgetting about or overlooking his personal failings (again, check out the comments section of Jeff Schultz's article).

Chipper Jones is a great baseball player, worthy of the Hall of Fame.  He deserves credit for staying away from PEDs and for other things he's done, like taking less money than what he could have made on the open market to stay with the Atlanta Braves his entire career.  There are plenty of things to admire about Chipper Jones.

However, let's stop short of considering him someone young people should look up to in any way other than in his ability to hit a baseball, recognize pitches or play third base in the major leagues.  Unless you know a player personally or know something great they've consistently done to help people, let's stop short of calling players "class acts." 

Perhaps Chipper Jones is now a very admirable human being in addition to him having an impressive baseball career.  But unless you know him personally, you just don't know whether he is or isn't.  Like any player, we should appreciate and enjoy their ability to entertain us on a baseball field.  We shouldn't pretend this gives us any sort of insight into his character.

There is nothing wrong with a fan expressing admiration for Chipper for staying away from PEDs, for playing baseball on a Hall-of-Fame level or for staying with one team his entire career instead of chasing more money from another team.  But none of this makes him any more or less admirable as a human being, overall. 

In the new age of baseball hero-worship, it seems the measure of a man is solely based on whether or not he used PEDs.  Whether he was unsavory or praiseworthy in other, perhaps more important aspects of his life, seems to be irrelevant in terms of his class or whether youngsters should look up to him. 


Twitter: @PayneBall