Big Mac leaves a bad taste

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 10:42 AM ET

Mark McGwire sure is giving the McDonald's burger a bad name. Big Mac had a chance to set the record straight about steroids on Thursday in front of the U.S. Congress, but he bailed. He pulled the chute. He took a pass.

And that is sad, because it makes him look guilty. Until now, Barry Bonds was the bad guy, but that was mainly because of his personality. McGwire was a nice guy during his playing days; always giving interviews, interacting with fans and walking around with a smile on his face.

Maybe that's why no one really accused him of beefing up illegally.

The happy times are over.

McGwire wouldn't have looked more guilty on Thursday if he were snorting Andro while Jose Canseco stuck a needle in his rear end.

Rafael Palmeiro sat right beside McGwire and vehemently denied that he ever used steroids. I loved Palmeiro in those Viagra commercials, but he's no actor, so I believe him about the juice.

McGwire could have done the same.

But obviously, he couldn't, and that's too bad.

Looking at the bigger picture, everything is moving in the right direction. Major League Baseball has beefed up its policy a bit, which is a good thing, and it's only going to get more strict now that the government is breathing down its neck.

MLB can run, but it can't hide.

PURE MADNESS: There is no better sporting event on television than the NCAA men's basketball tournament.

The action is frenetic and CBS or Sportsnet is always switching to show you the best game. Even if you don't follow college basketball during the regular season, you can follow March Madness with ease and enjoyment.

I dare you to tell me a sporting event that is better on the boob tube.

UH OH: That sound you hear is NHL players crying.

The NHL and the NHLPA got together the other day, and the NHL offered the union a deal with a $37.5-million salary cap.

That figure is down from the $42.5-million the NHL offered just before the season got a bullet in the back of its head.

Wonder what the NHL is going to offer next? If you guessed "a bigger salary cap," you're wrong.

The players should throw in the towel. This fight is over in the boardroom, and it's over in the court of public opinion.

TIDBITS: Golf Manitoba revealed its 2005 championship schedule recently. The tournaments are all tentative, however, because it is not yet known if the snow is going to go away ... The Winnipeg Blue Bombers have finally re-signed linebacker Ryland Wickman, and they added former Calgary Stampeder linebacker Willie Fells to the mix as well. Getting Wickman back is key. The five-year vet may not play every down and likely never will, but he's a leader in that locker-room with his rah-rah attitude. If everybody in Blue and Gold had Wickman's heart, they'd win the Grey Cup every year.


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