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Friday, October 8, 2010

Strike Out

When I was a teen, the World Series of Baseball was won twice by a team full of likable men. Guys like Paul Molitor, Joe Carter, and John Olerud brought kids like me from the country to the great big city parties. Everyone remembers where they were when Joe Carter hit THE walk-off, and in my case I was 8 rows up behind home plate at the Skydome. The championships united Canada and stamped the reputations of the players into immortality. These men became legends. But they are still just humans, and sometimes they do the unthinkable.

  Last year, 12-time all-star Roberto Alomar was accused in a lawsuit of exposing former girlfriend Ilya Dall to HIV despite knowing he was infected. According to the suit, Mr. Alomar refused to get tested for the virus despite being afflicted with blood disorders and thrush and having his career ended by a vision problem common to AIDS sufferers. Ms. Dall stated that Alomar eventually tested positive for HIV and was diagnosed with full-blown AIDS. During the media storm, the former ballplayer and his girlfriend Maripily Rivera stated that the allegations were false. The case was quietly settled and forgotten about until this week.

  This week, Maripily Rivera has filed for divorce from Roberto Alomar citing not only domestic abuse but intentional HIV exposure. The case alleges that Mr. Alomar lied about his HIV status in order to get Ms. Rivera to marry him and have unprotected sex. Naturally, Ms. Rivera claims to be suffering serious mental distress. While I think Ms. Rivera is stupid for not requiring proof of his claim prior to marrying, it's becoming clearer that a childhood hero is really a monster.

  I know it's not a popular opinion amongst the left-wing media, but I believe that people who manipulate others into having unsafe sex should be held criminally responsible and punished severely. I don't care whether you're a member of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame or a truck driver. If you attempt to maliciously transmit HIV, you are a criminal. The fact that infected people are living longer nowadays is no excuse. I've personally witnessed people die within months of infection. This condition still kills human beings in horrible ways and if you try to pass it around for sport, you are the scum of the Earth.

  I am not devoid of compassion for those with HIV/AIDS, in fact I have several friends with the virus. The thing is that not one of them would ever think of engaging in the inhumane actions of Roberto Almoar and people like him. I have dated people with the disease and always been told well in advance. I've lived with amazing humans afflicted with AIDS and witnessed their struggles and even their deaths. I have spent my adult life advocating for awareness and funding for various PWA organizations, and it is with this knowledge that I am acutely aware of the fact that callous individuals demonize those with HIV/AIDS. Thankfully, those that intentionally infect others are in the minority.

  Roberto Alomar is not a hero. He is a disgusting stain that chose to deny his transmissible medical condition and should be held to account for his horrendous actions. Roberto Alomar may have enjoyed great successes on the field, but in the game of life he has struck out.

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