Should Steroid Accusations Bar Players from the Hall of Fame?

The players are all linked to accusations of using performance-enhancing drugs and were not elected to the baseball Hall of Fame.

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Baseball writers failed to elect Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, and Sammy Sosa to the Baseball Hall of Fame on Wednesday. All three stars, making their debut on the 2013 ballot, have been marred by the sport's increasingly common allegations of using performance-enhancing drugs.

For the first time since 1996, no baseball players were chosen to join the Hall of Fame. In the annual election conducted by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America, no candidate received the necessary 75 percent of the vote to be inducted. Bonds, baseball's career home run leader, received 36.2 percent; Clemens, the most decorated pitcher, received 37.6; and Sosa, who hit 609 home runs, got only 12.5 percent of the vote.

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Clemens tweeted a message thanking fans for their support but saying, "After what has been written and said over the last few years I'm not overly surprised." He was charged with perjury following congressional testimony on whether or not he used performance enhancing drugs, but was eventually acquitted.

Bonds was convicted of obstruction of justice for giving an evasive answer in a grand jury investigation, and denies knowingly using performance-enhancing drugs. Sosa testified to a congressional committee in 2005 that he never took illegal steroids, but tested positive for the drugs in 2003.

Baseball writers voting for the potential inductees consider the players' playing record, but are also encouraged to examine their integrity, character, and sportsmanship. Jack O'Connell of the Baseball Writers' Association said using more than just a player's record "has been there since the very first election of 1936, and it is something that was emphasized by the Hall of Fame itself."

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Current Hall of Famers expressed pleasure at seeing those linked to steroid use locked out of the club. Goose Gossage, former Major League Baseball pitcher and 2008 inductee, said Bonds, Clemens, and Sosa shouldn't have even gotten as many votes as they did:

If they let these guys in ever—at any point—it's a big black eye for the Hall and for baseball … It's  like telling our kids you can cheat, you can do whatever you want, and it's not going to matter.

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Bonds, Clemens, and Sosa have up to 14 more years to appear on the ballot in hopes of being inducted into the Hall of Fame.  

What do you think? Should baseball players accused of taking steroids be kept out of the Hall of Fame? Take the poll and comment below.

This poll is now closed, but the debate continues in the comments section.