Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The A-Rod Apology

Give A-Rod credit, yesterday, Alex Rodriguez did the right thing and admitted to using PED's from 2001 - 2003 in an interview with ESPN. However, he did not go far enough and all his admission did was lead to more questions.

In admitting his use, he framed it this way:

"When I arrived at Texas in 2001, I felt an enormous amount of pressure, I felt like I had all the weight of the world on top of me and I needed to perform, and perform at a high level every day. Back then it was a different culture. It was very loose. I was young. I was stupid. I was naïve. And I wanted to prove to everyone that I was worth being one of the greatest players of all time. I did take a banned substance, and for that I am very sorry and deeply regretful.”

First and foremost, per SI, he tested positive for two banned substances (primobolan and testosterone) not one raising doubts on this confession. He also took a page straight from the juciers manual stating he didn't know what the substance was (one of the PED's was primobolan aka methenolone, a more expensive steroid that was able to leave your system faster than the more commonly used roids of the preceding years). The highest paid player in baseball not knowing what he's putting in his body? Doesn't quite pass the sniff test. What also doesn't pass that test is if he thought the pressure in Arlington, Texas was intense, what about New York freaking City? He felt less pressure moving to the Big Apple playing alongside Derek Jeter, switching positions and ultimately getting even a bigger contract? Tough pill to swallow A-Rod.

A-Rod decided to stop using PED's in 2003 after suffering a neck injury in spring training , he explained:

“I realized, ‘What am I doing? Not only am I going to hurt my baseball career, I’m going to hurt my post-career.’ It was time to grow up, stop being selfish, stop being stupid and take control of whatever you’re ingesting. And for that I couldn't feel more regret and feel more sorry, because I have so much respect for this game and the people that follow us. And I have millions of fans out there who won’t ever look at me the same.”

Crisis of confidence occurs when MLB institutes drug testing, yet allegedly you were tipped off by the union of an upcoming test in 2004? Why would the union need to tip you off if you weren't using? Too much respect for the game and the fans...then why roid up in the first place? I, for one, am not buying.

As for lying on "60 Minutes": "And in my mind, as I did my interview with CBS last year, I felt I haven’t failed a test, I haven’t done a steroid. And that was my belief. Whether I wanted to convince myself of that, that’s just where my mind was.”

That response was well crafted, but again, he doesn't fully admit to his mistake. He lied on national television: admit to it and move on. Earlier he says he used a banned substance and then later goes with the dopers credo of "since I didn't fail a test, I haven't doped". Are you kidding? You can't have it both ways, my man. Marion Jones thinks that line of reasoning is played.

Finally where the admission fails is in the timeline: it's as if there is a small chapter in his life that has been examined and his professionals have crunched the numbers, saw the spikes and said this is the period that we want you to address and only this period. No need to address Jose Canseco's allegations or when you were first exposed to PED's. Being evasive of how he was introduced to roids and how he obtained the PED's in the interview did not bolster his credibility or the strength of his apology. Come spring training, when reporters have additional questions, he'll fall back on this interview as being the only time he'll address this subject.

Total transparency is always the best policy, just ask Marion.


Billy said...

Most ballplayers today are taking homeopathic growth hormone oral spray because it's safe, undetectable, and legal for over the counter sales. As time goes on it seems it might be considered as benign a performance enhancer as coffee, aspirin, red bull, chewing tobacco, and bubble gum.

Shaun E in PC said...

Interesting take, Billy. In the Mitchell Report, HGH is cited as widely used b/c it's undetectable, but the report concludes that HGH did not benefit the players from a PED perspective.