Liar liar, pants on fire.
Melky Cabrera lied. He cheated. He disgraced himself and the game of baseball.
Yes, he had statistics worthy of the National League MVP award last season. His .346 batting average was the highest of his career, and his 11 home runs and 60 RBI were impressive. He also had a career-high .516 slugging percentage. He was a big reason why the San Francisco Giants were playing well.
But you also have to consider the fact that he wasn't available to the team for over 50 games after he was suspended for testing positive for testosterone. He wasn't there to help San Francisco win the World Series. He had no part in winning the championship.
It was as if he wasn't part of the team.
So because he was suspended for performance enhancing drugs and wasn't there for any of the epic postseason which included normally impossible comebacks against the Cincinnati Reds and St. Louis Cardinals, that means he shouldn't get a ring, right?
That's not what Cabrera believes.
In a statement given at the Toronto Blue Jays' spring training camp on Friday, Cabrera said that he knows he made a mistake last season and has learned from it. According to Danny Knobler from CBSSports.com:
I feel like I deserve a ring, he said. I gave everything to that organization. If they decide not to give me a ring, I'd understand that, too.
I also accepted the Giants' decision not to bring me back for the Playoffs after I served my punishment. Instead, I continued to work hard so I could be ready for the 2013 season. I hoped and expected that I would be allowed to put my mistake behind me and to start this season fresh.
I respect the fact that Cabrera is showing some kind of remorse for what he did. Whether or not these words were inspired by his lawyer is irrelevant. He's owning up to what he did and is taking responsibility for his actions. That's what he should be doing.
However, he won't be able to put this mistake behind him. He's been branded as a PED user; he'll be reminded of that for the rest of his career.
But that doesn't mean he deserves a ring. This is like saying a person deserves a degree after they were caught plagiarizing someone else's work during the majority of the time they attended college. It's just not right.
But just because he is, in fact, getting a ring, doesn't mean he should be getting one.
I want to be on Cabrera's side. There's a part of me that believes he should get the hardware as well. But my mind is saying no. The reason for that is simple.
Cabrera wasn't on the field. When he was on it, he was cheating. Giving him a ring is another representation of the eternal question of what's right and what's wrong.
Giving him a ring is wrong.