The Fallout from PEDs – and How it Affects our “Investment”
By Guy Mitchell aka sweetg1
Before I start, I will add the disclaimer that I am not saying that I agree with this, but this writing is to make you think and hopefully, create discussion.
You have your Lance Armstrongs and you have your Mark McGwires. You have your Alex Rodriguez, Roger Clemens, and your Barry Bonds. We all know what they have in common. They have cheated the game at some point. Some have been proven guilty and some not so much. But in the court of public opinion, each and everyone of them is guilty. The list continues to grow, as we recently have seen with Ryan Braun. While some aren’t totally forthcoming as to the extent of the drug usage, you have Andy Pettitte, who came forth and said he was sorry for his involvement…and he was forgiven. McGwire eventually did the same, but it took him longer to come forward.
When we look at those who didn’t apologize for their involvement as it came to light, you look at the anger that came as a result. We vehemently stood up for Lance Armstrong for so long, right? He couldn’t possibly be guilty and he was a national hero to many, given his comeback from cancer, which in itself is amazing. But we watched him threaten those around him, only later to be found guilty. We watched Ryan Braun swear that he didn’t do anything wrong, only later to find out that he was guilty. The apologies after the fact ring hollow, in my mind.
Then I ask, how does this affect guys like you and me, who seek their sports cards. Some of us collect because they play for our favorite team, some because we like the individual and what they stand for. Some actually collect because they see the dollar signs that can come from collecting an individual’s cards. Who doesn’t like going to pay $1.25 for a pack, hoping to pull a Yasiel Puig that we could sell for $1,000 on eBay? Many are stockpiling individuals like Puig, Mike Trout, Bryce Harper in baseball and guys like RGIII and Andrew Luck in football. They did the same thing for Bonds years ago, only to be let down and watch the value of their stash go by the wayside.
Now comes the question and comment: I am completely surprised that we have not seen lawsuits in the sports card market as a result of the indiscretions of the players. I’m not necessarily saying that there should be lawsuits, but I think it’s fair to say that it could quite easily happen. As we watched Bonds approach hallowed ground as he neared 755, his cards continued to soar. Then as the court appearances increased (along with the denials), his card values began to falloff. I can only assume that Ryan Braun’s cards will also see many down arrows, if they have not already done so.
The up arrows and down arrows are normal in this industry. If a player saves a baby from a burning building, then we perceive him to be a “good guy” and more fans want to seek his cards, regardless of what he does on the field. Likewise, a player does drugs or hits his girlfriend, then he’s a “bad guy” and he and his cards lose appeal, as well they should in my opinion. But I believe that cheating is different. When Andy Pettite came clean and apologized, people seemed to understand his plight. However, those that continued to deny they cheated, only to find that they lied meant that they not only hurt themselves, but they hurt our industry, and in some cases, the collector’s investment.
I ask this: What is the difference between a stock dropping significantly in value, negatively affecting the investor, which may bring on a class action suit? If the company executive knowingly does things illegally and it can be proven, then the investor has a good chance of winning. This isn’t new. Why is this any different in the sports card industry. If I invested thousands of dollars in A-Rod 10 years ago with the though that he might break Hank Aaron’s record (sorry – the record belongs to Hank – we can debate that another time), only to find out that he knowingly did illegal things that would not only affect his team, but also the collectors, why couldn’t I say that he negatively (knowingly) impacted my investment?
Again, I won’t be filing any lawsuits, because my collection isn’t the type of collection that is based on investment. I collect older players whose legacy has already been established. But I provide these comments as a discussion point in order to make us think, and possibly allow us, as collectors, to see what’s could be coming in the coming years.
Your thoughts are appreciated.
Happy Collecting everyone!
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