You ever get an idea, then forget what the idea was actually about? That happened here. Lawton got suspended, and at the same time the below story got some play in the newspapers, and I thought that the perfect title for a blog post about it would be "the wages of sin." I was rushed in posting part one, and just forgot about the companion story. So here's that, plus a little extra:
Reebok Signs Giambi -- It's an endorsement contract, and it generated all the usual self-righteous declarations from the online community, which we've come to expect whenever steroids enter the picture. As happy as I am that Giambi's bat has returned to life, and as sympathetic as I've been about Jason's cancer struggles, I'm pretty flabbergasted by this move.
Jason won the Comeback Player of the Year Award, which gives Reebok some positive publicity by signing him. He also reportedly switched cleats to Reeboks mid-season, around the time that Jason turned his year around. So it makes sense that the company sees him as an exploitable asset, now. But the fact that he's receiving a reward, so soon after his steroid testimony to the Grand Jury, but without making any admissions to the public, or issuing a genuine public apology, or doing so much as recording a single anti-steroid PSA...it smells wrong. It sends the wrong signal.
The fact is, the size of Giambi's deal with Reebok is unknown, so we don't know how important this development is. Most folks think "endorsement contract" and we think of Tiger Woods getting millions from Nike and AmEx, Michael Jordan having his name on a line of shoes. For all we know, this deal might just keep Jason in fresh cleats for the rest of his career. Probably the biggest thing that it accomplishes for Giambi is that it takes the stigma off him of having no endorsements. It returns him to normal society again. Perhaps a bit too soon.
It's not like the steroid story is going to die anytime soon. Apparently, there will be a huge expose about it in ESPN the Magazine.
Special Bonus Sin:
Urbina Charged with Attempted Murder -- This stems from an incident late last month, where workers at one of Urbina's houses were reportedly attacked with machetes and threatened with incineration, supposedly over a missing firearm. Now, one can see how a missing firearm would be an issue for alarm to Urbina, given that his mother was kidnapped last year by drug dealers. Still, machete attacks and pouring gasoline over your employees does seem rather extreme.
In his defense, Urbina now claims that the only conflict that he had with the workers was over their unauthorized use of the pool, and that he simply gave them a stern talking to, and went to sleep. Latin america's a strange place sometimes, ultramodern and sophisticated in places, and then just short of feudal in others. Hopefully, the truth will find its way out in this case, eventually.
Urbina, by the way, is a free agent.