ESPN’s shame

by Michael O. Allen on April 18, 2008

I am not a fan of the Houston Astros, never lived in Texas and don’t plan on visiting there any time soon. I am only a casual follower of the Baltimore Orioles or the Oakland A’s. And I neither like nor dislike Miguel Tejada. I know him to be a talented shortstop and a very good hitter.

ESPN, in an investigative program last night, ambushed Houston Astros shortstop Miguel Tejada yesterday, in the process shaming itself.

The story seems to be that Miguel Tejada’s age in the Astros program says his birth date is May 25, 1976. Because this is an issue of national importance, ESPN sent lawyers to the Dominican Republic who obtained from the government the birth certificate that Tejada’s father filed. The document showed Tejada’s birth date to be May 25, 1974.

Here’s the thing, as this Houston Chronicle article shows, Tejada green card, his driver’s license, and all documents he has show his true birthdate. So, what exactly is the big problem?

If ESPN wants to do an investigation, why does it not try to find out how Major League Baseball preys on kids wanting to be the next Tejada, the mills that Major League Baseball runs in Latin American countries for academies that sell people major league dreams only to casually toss them aside when the league no longer has any use for them.

Tejada has more integrity than any of the people involved in the Congressional investigation of him, more honor than anyone at ESPN or MLB offices.

Miguel Tejada is a wonderful baseball player who overcame much adversity to reach where he is in baseball. There was never any guarantee he would make it. He was simply too poor to have such dreams. Someone sold him on the hope of becoming a baseball player. But, first, he had to change his age to be accepted.

What other kid in his circumstance would not have jumped at such a chance. I know I would have.

This was a disgraceful performance by ESPN and it ought to be ashamed of itself.

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