NEW YORK – Hank Aaron’s verdict on baseball’s steroid scandal: “Saddened.”
Aaron, long reluctant to weigh in too strongly on the stories involving steroids and baseball, said Tuesday he’ll keep sticking with that tact in the cases of Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds, both accused of lying about using steroids and facing trial next spring
“I’m just saddened by it,” said Aaron, who held the all-time home run record until Bonds broke it in 2007. “I’m not a judge and I’m not a juror and I don’t know who’s guilty and who’s what. I’m just saddened for baseball and saddened for Clemens and Bonds, both.”
Last month, Clemens was indicted for lying to Congress and has a trial scheduled for April. Bonds’ faces a perjury trial in March.
More important to Aaron than the news on steroids is the state of baseball in America, where blacks have slowly been seeping out of the sport. Last season, the number of black players in the majors dropped to 9 percent.
Aaron sees the limited number of college scholarships as blocking development.
“Football has such a lucrative scholarship that when parents talk to their kids about going to school, they talk about one thing, and that’s playing football,” Aaron said. “You had kids like Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders, who could’ve been excellent baseball players, but they had to go to school on football scholarships and play two sports. In the long run, it’s not going to work, especially for baseball.”