Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Why All the Hate for Selena Roberts?

With yesterday’s release of Selena Roberts’ book on Alex Rodriguez, "A-Rod: The Many Lives of Alex Rodriguez", the reaction has been fierce and for the most part, one-sided: backlash towards Roberts from the media and others in baseball.

New York Yankee manager Joe Girardi questioned why the book was even written in the first place this past Sunday. Girardi said, “From the excerpts I have read, I have heard that there are other negative things about his lifestyle. I’m a firm believer that what we do off the field is our personal life.”

Monday morning in a promo for the book, Roberts appeared on the Today show and was interviewed by Matt Lauer. Rather than discuss the book’s findings, Lauer attacked Roberts for her reliance on anonymous sources. During the Mitchell investigation into PED’s in baseball only one active player cooperated with the investigation. Given this history and that there really is a “code” in the locker room, it’s not at all surprising that there are many anonymous sources in the book. When she uncovers information and goes to verify that information, people respect and understand the “code” and do not want to “rat” out a former teammate so they go off the record.
Let's be honest with the uproar over Selena Roberts book. It's because it's written by an outsider, a woman and someone who is not a favored reporter by the sport. Would Tom Verducci be getting roasted like Selena Roberts? No. Would Jayson Stark or Buster Olney get any heat - no because they wouldn’t write an investigative book like this and violate the "code." Those two ESPN “personalities” sat by and said all the performances we saw during the roid era were natural. Why? One reason is that they work for an outlet that televises the sport and can't cause any controversy that would possibly hurt their employer's ratings.

So now the sport and the hard liners are doing what they do best: unifying a front and supporting a liar and a cheater while questioning a reporter and her methods. Kill the messenger and ignore the message.

Eventually the tide will turn. Fans will wake up and realize that a fraud and a liar is the highest earner in the sport and will stop going to the games, buying jerseys and ultimately, the owners will have no choice but to lower wages, hurting all the players who remained silent during this era.

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