|Screen grab I took from the ESPN video of the interview which you can find here. Sadly, we don’t have a view below the waist so we can’t tell if his pants are on fire.|
This will be long and rambling. Just warning you all now. And the bottom line, yes, I know I hold a double standard on this issue. Too bad. I’m not Peter Gammons or Bob Costas. No one is asking me to be neutral here.
“Give ARod credit for the courage to confess” read the flipper leading to Curt Schilling’s blog on the front page of WEEI.com this afternoon.
And my response is: “Well, no. I don’t think I will.”
You don’t get called courageous because you fess up to something that has already been revealed. Especially not if, had that Sports Illustrated story never come to light, ARod would still be telling us that:
“I’ve never felt overmatched on the baseball field. I’ve always been a very strong, dominant position. And I felt that if I did my work as I’ve done since I was, you know, a rookie back in Seattle, I didn’t have a problem competing at any level. So, no.”
This in response to Katie Couric asking him if he ever thought about using PEDs to get an edge. Now he tells Peter Gammons:
“At the time, I wasn’t being truthful with myself. How could I be truthful with Katie Couric or CBS?”
So he can be truthful now, since Selena Roberts figuratively put a gun to his head, but when he agreed to speak with Katie Couric, just after the Mitchell Report was released and he knew the main topic of discussion was going to be PEDs in baseball, he lied because he believed he had never used? Did Roberts punch him in the head or something to make him suddenly remember?
Listen, I know the PED policies in place in MLB are a joke, regardless of what Donald Fehr or Bud Selig or anyone else says. If they aren’t testing for Human Growth Hormone, then they have absolutely no idea who is using and who isn’t. To take ARod and pin him on the wall so we can all point and call him the devil is unfair. Hell, maybe Curt Schilling* used HGH in 2007? We’ll never know so why should we pick on ARod, right?
Wrong. Here’s why I’m picking on ARod. He agreed to that 60 Minutes interview. He knew that the subject of PEDs would be brought up and he STILL did it. He could have used that platform to say “Yep, I did it and I’m sorry” but he didn’t. So coming out now, just because there’s no way out, doesn’t impress me. Sure, it makes him better than Roger Clemens or Barry Bonds. But, really, is that much of a leap? He did that interview, came off as an arrogant jerk, (Essentially, “I’m good enough that I don’t NEED that stuff!”) and now he wants sympathy because:
“Back then, [baseball] was a different culture,” Rodriguez said. “It was very loose. I was young, I was stupid, I was naive. And I wanted to prove to everyone that I was worth being one of the greatest players of all time.”
“Again, it was such a loosey-goosey era,” Rodriguez said. “I’m guilty for a lot of things. I’m guilty for being negligent, naive, not asking all the right questions. And to be quite honest, I don’t know exactly what substance I was guilty of using.”
It’s no secret I tend to favor the players who aren’t quite considered “superstars”. And I’m going to go on record right now and admit that, when it comes to this subject, I’m a total hypocrite. If someone came to me tomorrow and showed me proof that Kyle Snyder* used some kind of performance-enhancing drug, I’d be bummed. I wouldn’t want to think that someone I thought highly of and rooted for so strongly would choose to cheat in order to succeed. But I also wouldn’t have a tough time being understanding about it. And not just because of any feelings for him. It can’t be easy struggling through injury after injury and not only having to fight others for a spot, but when you get to that position, having to face the likes of a cheating Alex Rodriguez. I understand the pressure put on some players. You get to the level you’ve worked for so long, only to be decimated by injuries and to struggle to stay healthy. I don’t like it and I think that any player, regardless of their reasons, should be punished for using PEDs. But I understand it a lot more for some players than for others. I don’t, for one minute, put Alex Rodriguez (nor Barry Bonds, nor Roger Clemens) in that group of players. We’re talking about men who were great (if we believe the timelines offered) before they started cheating. Men on the path to superstardom and the Hall of Fame. Men who decided to cheat to get even MORE of an edge than the talents they had afforded them.
And that pisses me off.
Regardless of my empathy for some who might be using, PEDs, in general, piss me off. Professional athletes should be getting to their positions in life because they are better than the people they’re competing with, not because they don’t mind poisoning their bodies with drugs to get ahead. So when you have an Alex Rodriguez, who was already heads and shoulders above most of his peers, cheating – well, no Scott Boras-written apology to Peter Gammons (a man ARod knew would be more sympathetic than tough on him) with doe-eyes and hints that it really wasn’t his fault it’s because he was just trying so hard to please everyone, will make me pat him on the back.
ARod admitted to what Selena Roberts already told us he did. He apologized. Great. Now what? Just because he said he was wrong to do it, doesn’t change the fact that he did. It doesn’t change the fact that, as much as people want to beat up Barry Bonds, ARod is exactly the same person. He broke records and he accepted accolades, all along knowing he was a fraud. I don’t want this guy tarred and feathered, but I sure as hell don’t want people telling me I should be proud of him for having the courage to admit the truth. The truth is, had Selena Roberts not uncovered this, ARod would still be telling people that he was too good to ever have considered using PEDs.
So, no, I’m not impressed with this admission at all. I’m just glad he did it now so we didn’t have to wait for him to interrupt the WBC with the announcement.