Alex Rodriguez apologized for his steroid use yesterday, coming clean regarding use from 2001-2003. Yet some pundits remain unhappy, and have devoted their columns to poking holes in Alex’s apology. Although you might find an article like this in every NY daily this morning, Anthony Rieber’s article in Newsday provides the best structure for me to, um, politely disagree with him:
“When I arrived in Texas in 2001, I felt an enormous amount of pressure. I felt like I had all of the weight of the world on top of me. And I needed to perform, and perform at a high level every day.”
Translation: “My $252-million contract made me do it.”
The writers who are now criticizing this statement are the very same ones who always point out Alex’s desperate need for approval. They always point out the weight of his contract when he fails. Doesn’t Alex’s resorting to steroids due to the glare of his contract fit perfectly with everything that we know about him?
“Back then, it was a different culture. It was very loose.”
Translation: “Everybody was doing it.”
How is this not true or disingenuous? Everybody was doing it, and the culture of steroids was a big reason for that. Does anyone really believe that today’s players are somehow less moral than players of previous eras? Many of the players did it because everybody else was doing it, not because they were morally bankrupt.
“I was young. I was stupid. I was naive.”
Translation: “After seven seasons as a major-league baseball player, at the age of 25, after being business-savvy enough to sign the richest contract in American sports history, I was still too young to know what I was doing.”
Apparently young people with immense talent need plenty of savvy to sign huge contracts. I had thought that it had more to do with the ability to dial a phone and call Scott Boras, but what do I know.
“It was such a loosey-goosey era that I’m guilty for a lot of things. I’m guilty for being negligent, guilty for being naive, not asking all the right questions. And to be quite honest, I don’t know exactly what substance I was guilty of using.”
Translation: “Did I mention everybody was doing it? Plus, I’m a workout fiend who has often boasted of my rigorous training regimen. But someone gave me something – maybe I’m not even sure who it was, since I wasn’t in ‘question-asking mode’ at the time – and even though I thought it was a supercharged milkshake, I drank it anyway. For three years straight. But only for the most recent three years for which there were no penalties in baseball.”
Here I think Alex may have been stretching the truth, although I do not find it impossible that a trainer told him that he was giving him PED’s without telling him exactly which substance it was. Rieber’s last statement is silly. Plenty of players stopped taking steroids once penalties and testing were instituted. That is the whole point of testing, so as to prevent continued usage. Alex took steroids for a few years and then stopped when a testing program was put into place.
OK, last one. Gammons asked Rodriguez if he used illegal performance-enhancing drugs from 2001-03. Simple question. A-Rod said:
“That’s pretty accurate.”
Translation: “That’s all I’m admitting to. Today.”
Alternate, sane translation: “I do not have a schedule of usage that I can show you.”
What do you think? Do you buy Alex’s apology?
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