‘I Won’t Cheat’ founder to speak at JUCO World Series banquet

Dale Murphy has heard enough of the rumors and speculation of Major League Baseball players using performance-enhancing drugs.

The former Atlanta Braves outfielder is so tired of it, he’s started a foundation called

‘I Won’t Cheat,’ with the intent to eliminate steroids and other illegal performance-
enhancing drugs from the world of sports.

The two-time National League MVP and Atlanta Braves Hall of Famer will get an opportunity in May to encourage junior college baseball players to avoid the temptation of drugs.

He will be the guest speaker May 22 at the Alpine Bank Junior College World Series banquet at Two Rivers Convention Center, JUCO Chairman Jamie Hamilton announced Tuesday.

Tickets for the banquet are $40 each and go on sale April 1 at the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce.

“In speaking with him, he’s so articulate and so passionate about the game. I think he’ll have a good message for the student-athletes,” Hamilton said.

Murphy, who was in Grand Junction in July 2005 to watch two of his sons play in the Triple Crown World Series, is looking forward to the opportunity.

“I had a great time in Grand Junction,” he said. “The baseball tradition is big there. It will be fun to come back. When we were there with Taylor and Jake, it was my first time there. I got up early, rented a mountain bike and rode the trails out there.

“I’m thankful for the chance to speak.”

Murphy plans on talking about playing sports without taking illegal performance-enhancing drugs.

He started the ‘I Won’t Cheat’ foundation (http://www.iwontcheat.com) as a result of the use of illegal performance-enhancing drugs in baseball.

“Me and some friends of mine and fans of baseball got frustrated with all the things going on,” Murphy said. “We figured there was some way to educate kids with the problems of steroids.
Most guys aren’t taking that stuff, but there are some doing it and making it sound like that’s what kids need to do. In making the ethical decision, it’s hard for kids. The foundation is not only about baseball, but it’s about making the right decisions in school and life.

“It’s interesting that guys that would be Hall of Famers are involved in it. It’s a reflection of the society around us. We’re told and thought to believe it’s OK to bend the rules.

“If you look at our society financially, the reason we are in a recession is because some people bent the rules. All of us need to remember the decisions we make don’t only affect you, they affect other people too.

“It’s a challenge. We are given examples at the highest part of society. We get that constantly. In sports, it’s been no different. We’ve hurt the image of the players and the kids in thinking this is what we have to do. It takes strength and character not to bend the rules.”

Members of the foundation speak at school assemblies and develop a mini-curriculum to distribute in high schools and middle schools.

“We haven’t been around long enough to establish a track record, but the worst thing you can do is not talk about it,” Murphy said. “I know one study showed most kids think their parents are OK with (cheating).

“I don’t accept that or agree with that. My point is, it hasn’t been talked about enough. Kids think it’s OK to bend the rules. There are long-term benefits from doing it right.”

Murphy believes players like Barry Bonds, Roger Clemons and Mark McGwire used performance-enhancing drugs just as Alex Rodriguez admitted to doing last week.

“You’re left to draw your own conclusion,” he said. “I don’t have any proof, but you’ve got to make your own mind up. I feel they were involved. Even in their cases, I think people’s views of them would be better if they came out and said it. We basically know.

“I don’t think I’m in the minority. The (Hall of Fame) voters are thinking the same thing. It’s unfortunate. I wish these guys would have someone advise them instead of making excuses.

You can stay it was the culture of the game at the time, but it was still the wrong decision.”

Murphy was the youngest player ever to be voted the NL MVP in 1982 and 1983. He won five consecutive Gold Glove awards and was an All-Star seven times. He became the sixth player in MLB history to make the 30-30 club with at least 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases in one season.

Murphy received the Lou Gehrig Memorial Award in 1985, recognizing him as the player who best fit the image and character of Lou Gehrig both on and off the field. In 1988, he was the recipient of the Roberto Clemente Award for his character and charitable contributions to his community.

He finished his 18-year career with the Colorado Rockies in their inaugural year before retiring with 398 home runs, 1,266 RBI and a .265 career batting average.


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