John Feinstein doesn't think Len Bias deserves to be in the University of Maryland Athletics Hall of Fame. He's too dead to deserve this honor. For some reason Feinstein brings Pete Rose into the discussion as well, possibly because he realized he didn't have enough material to write a column on why Len Bias doesn't deserve to be in the Hall of Fame. John Feinstein believes the character clause should come into play, and since Len Bias made the mistake of dying of a drug overdose, he doesn't deserve induction into the University of Maryland Athletics Hall of Fame. Of course, John Lucas is in the University of Maryland Hall of Fame and he famously used drugs. That is totally different from Len Bias because John Lucas had the foresight to not die of his drug use. I mean, if you are going to use drugs, at least have the ability to not die. If you die, there goes your chances at making the Hall of Fame.
The picture of John Feinstein that accompanies this article looks like it was taken in 1987. It may be time to update the pic. I'm pretty sure there is a Roxy Music poster somewhere in the background of the picture.
More than 28 years after his death rocked the sports world, Len Bias is going to be inducted to the University of Maryland Athletics Hall of Fame this October, the school announced Wednesday.
What a travesty. Bias used drugs and wasn't even super-clutch enough to handle the drugs he was taking. By allowing Bias into the Hall of Fame, the University of Maryland is saying, "We support people who use drugs and aren't even tough enough to not die of drug use." That's not a message they should be sending.
Almost 25 years after being banned from baseball for betting on games, Pete Rose still is begging to be inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
The question is this: Should either one of them be in any hall of fame?
And these two situations are completely analogous, that's the important thing to focus on. Dying of cardiac arrest caused by cocaine and betting on baseball. Definitely not an apples and oranges comparison.
Rose is baseball’s all-time hits leader — 4,256 — and if he hadn’t been
caught betting on baseball, he would have been a certain first-ballot
Hall of Famer five years after he last played in 1986.
If a frog had wings it wouldn't bump it's ass on the ground. If Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds, and Roger Clemens had not used PED's then they would be in the Hall of Fame. If I were a foot taller I would have a better chance of being a professional athlete.
Bias is — almost without argument — the greatest basketball player in Maryland history.
(Lonny Baxter reads this sentence with a tear in his eye)
If he hadn’t died of a cocaine overdose soon after being taken with the
No. 2 pick in the 1986 NBA draft by the Boston Celtics, he would have
been in the school’s Hall of Fame the moment he was eligible.
But he died, and everyone knows that dead people SHOULD NOT be allowed to enter the Hall of Fame. You die, that's a character flaw. No Hall of Fame for you.
But greatness as a player has never been an issue with either Rose or Bias.
Which is why Bias shouldn't be allowed to enter the University of Maryland Hall of Fame, a place reserved for players who showed greatness in athletics while playing for the University of Maryland. Sure, he was great and meets that criteria, but he's dead. What kind of great athlete can't handle a little cocaine? Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry handled their cocaine. Maybe Bias wasn't such a great athlete after all.
There is no doubt a stain of mendacity on Rose that never fell on Bias.
Look at Mr. Fancy with his big words. Mendacity. Well, Pete Rose lied for a decade about whether he bet on baseball and then only revealed that he did bet on baseball once he got the chance to make money from his admission. Len Bias was a college kid who used cocaine and died as a result. You can sort of see where the stain of lies is on Rose, but not Bias. Bias being a liar isn't an issue with his Hall of Fame candidacy.
Rose only stopped lying about betting on baseball in 2004 because he
was peddling a book and because he believed — as he said as recently as
this week — that if he finally fessed up, Selig would reinstate him. He
didn’t do it because his conscience caught up with him but because he
was tring to sell books and because he thought he would get off the hook
if he said, “Yeah, yeah, you got me.”
Hey, I said it first!
There’s a character clause on the Baseball Hall of Fame ballot, which is why no one should ever vote for Rose or any of those who took steroids and lied about taking them.
I'm getting bored of rehashing the same argument over and over...but I also can't turn down having the same argument over and over. MLB didn't care about the character clause when letting assholes like Ty Cobb into the Hall of Fame. MLB didn't care about letting cheaters in the Hall of Fame when electing Gaylord Perry and Whitey Ford into the Hall of Fame. Don't even get me started about the large amounts of players in the MLB Hall of Fame used "greenies" at some point in their career. It's laughable to discuss the character clause in terms of the Baseball Hall of Fame, as if everyone in the Baseball Hall of Fame is of the highest moral character and no player shall demean the group of angels currently represented in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
There also is a character clause attached to the Maryland Hall of Fame.
Apparently the committee decided 28 years was enough time either to look
the other way or believe that dying of a cocaine overdose doesn’t
represent a major character flaw.
Dying of a cocaine overdose doesn't represent a major character flaw. I like how Feinstein seems to differentiate between using cocaine and dying of a cocaine overdose. Sure, it's fine to use cocaine and then rehab yourself a few years later. John Lucas is a great example of this. Don't use cocaine and then die from this cocaine use, because you don't get a chance to get older and redeem yourself. Now your cocaine use becomes a character flaw. If you are going to fuck up, just be sure you live long enough to beg forgiveness for the fuck up.
Of course many people, including Lefty Driesell, who recruited and
coached Bias, have convinced themselves Bias had never used cocaine
before that night. Others have tried to make Bias into some kind of
martyr. He was neither innocent nor a martyr.
I'm glad John Feinstein is able to have some real talk with us about Len Bias. He probably had used cocaine prior to that night, but no one really knows for sure. Bias isn't a martyr, but he is an excellent example of how drug use can derail a person's life and career.
It cost him his life — and it cost Maryland dearly.
Sure, drug use cost Len Bias his life, but his drug use really cost Maryland dearly. The Bias family could always make another baby that's a once in a lifetime athlete, but Maryland was going to need at least five to ten years to pull their program back together.
Driesell insists to this day that, in spite of his death and the way he
died, Bias was good for Maryland, that many players wanted to go there
because they were so enamored of him as a player. Gary Williams, who had
to deal with the specter of Bias’s death when he arrived on campus in
There were kids who were great players who were decent students who we
couldn’t get in school because Maryland was trying to prove it was
recruiting a different kind of athlete.
This is mainly why Len Bias shouldn't be in the University of Maryland Hall of Fame. His death led to the University raising their academic standards for athletes. How is Gary Williams supposed to coach his team if the players have to be academically eligible to get into the school? Thanks Len Bias, thanks for dying and encouraging the school to recruit a different kind of athlete. No University of Maryland athlete whose death causes the school to raise academic standards deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. No way. No how.
Of course reportedly part of the reason Gary Williams retired is because he wasn't happy that the University was not allowing some of the recruits into the school due to these recruits failing to have the requisite grades allowing them to gain entry into the University of Maryland. So Williams definitely has a type of player he recruits for better or worse and there are obviously exceptions. I think Williams really retired because he realized he had offered Alex Len a scholarship and this was such a black stain on his resume he had no choice but to retire.
I remember after we lost to Duke in the Final Four in 2001, feeling as if a lot of Maryland people still thought, ‘Well, that’s who we are. Something’s always going to go wrong.’
At least Gary Williams didn't have a victim's mentality about it. I wonder how Williams felt after Maryland won the national title the very next year? I'm sure Williams is happy with Maryland deciding to take the money and run off to the Big 10, where they will be an even more irrelevant football program and the basketball team will benefit by allowing fellow Big 10 teams inroads into recruiting in the Maryland/DC area. Guys like Juan Dixon and Lonny Baxter who went to Maryland because it was comfortable and close to home can feel safer choosing Ohio State now that they know their family can see them play in Maryland once a year or so.
It’s as if some people want to forget that the reason he died was
because he did something wrong. That’s a fact, and there’s no getting
away from that fact. I saw the results of it up close.
Right, Len Bias did do something "wrong." It's a little insensitive to put it that way I think, but it's factually accurate. It would be like saying I shouldn't feel bad for Juan Dixon being an orphan because his parents did something wrong and left him behind. After all, they were drug addicts and had AIDS. I'm guessing if I said I wouldn't extend sympathy to Juan Dixon because his parents did something wrong then Gary Williams would think I'm an asshole.
“If the publicity from this reminds some kids that this can happen, this does happen, not just to famous athletes, then maybe that way some good can come of it.”
I think that's pretty much what Len Bias' death did. It's a reminder even great athletes can use drugs and die from them.
The question, ultimately, in deciding whether someone is a hall of famer
is whether they elevated their sport, their school or their profession.
Some sports’ halls of fame rely strictly on numbers, even though they
often paint an incomplete picture.
Of course Len Bias did before his life could be a complete picture, which I think is an important thing to know. His life was an incomplete picture. Yes, hall of fames have tended to rely on outside actions of late, but the Baseball Hall of Fame and the University of Maryland Athletics Hall of Fame have not in the past, or else guys like Gaylord Perry and John Lucas wouldn't be in each respective hall of fame.
Baseball was sullied and damaged by Rose’s actions, which should mean
the privilege of being in the Hall of Fame is taken from him in spite of
his remarkable achievements.
The same, sadly, should be true of Bias. There’s no questioning he lit
up the Maryland campus for four years. But there’s also no questioning
he left it in darkness for many years in the wake of his death.
So Len Bias should not be inducted into the Maryland Athletics Hall of Fame, not because he used drugs, but because he died while using drugs. Death was his character flaw. If he had been man enough not to suffer cardiac arrest, and then redeem himself by playing basketball well in the NBA, then he very well could deserve to be in the Maryland Hall of Fame. But like a little bitch who can't hold his drugs, he died from using cocaine, so no Hall of Fame for him.
Unlike Rose, Bias should be forgiven.
You are forgiven for dying, Len Bias! Congratulations! John Feinstein has absolved you from the sin of dying.
But, like Rose, he should not be honored.
Pitied, certainly. But honored? No.
Because he died from using drugs? The University of Maryland Athletics Hall of Fame already has someone inducted who used drugs, so clearly the character clause (here's a shock) is arbitrarily ignored when convenient. The lesson here to "the kids" is that if you want to make sure you get into your college's athletics hall of fame, use all the drugs you want, just don't die from using those drugs. Read Keith Richards' biography, he'll show you how to do it.