Is A-Rod pulling a fast one on everybody?

Let’s take a moment and reflect on this Alex Rodriguez-steroid situation for a moment, shall we? Let’s take a step back and really examine what has transpired over the past couple days.

On Saturday, ran a report that A-Rod tested positive for steroids when he was a member of the Rangers in 2003. The only response Rodriguez gave to the report was, “You’ll have to talk to the union” and “I’m not saying anything.”

That was smart – he might as well give himself some time to plan his next move before he started digging a deeper hole for himself.

So on Monday, A-Rod phones’s Peter Gammons and admit he did in fact use steroids and that’s report is true. (By the way, I find it kind of humorous that instead of going to, he went to ESPN since the former was the one that had a hand in outing him.)

“When I arrived in Texas in 2001, I felt an enormous amount of pressure, felt all the weight of the world on top of me to perform, and perform at a high level every day,” Rodriguez told ESPN’s Peter Gammons in an interview in Miami Beach, Fla. “Back then, [baseball] was a different culture. It was very loose. I was young, I was stupid, I was naïve. 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. For that, I am very sorry and deeply regretful.”

“To be quite honest, I don’t know exactly what substance I was guilty of using,” Rodriguez said.

“Overall, I felt a tremendous pressure to play, and play really well” in Texas, the New York Yankees third baseman said. “I had just signed this enormous contract I felt like I needed something, a push, without over-investigating what I was taking, to get me to the next level.”

“It’s been a rough 15 months here for me,” Rodriguez said. “I was stupid for three years. I was very, very stupid.”

He also said: “The more honest we can all be, the quicker we can get baseball [back] to where it needs to be.”

There are a couple of things we can take from A-Rod’s discussion with Gammons and ESPN. One, regardless of what you think of him, Rodriguez has more balls than Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro and every other player that knowingly took steroids and either denied it or tap danced around the subject in order to save face. He got caught red-handed and decided to fess up. If nothing else, I give him credit for stepping up and being a man about being caught.

But his argument that he didn’t know what substance he was guilty of using is complete bull.

Why do athletes continue to treat fans like brainless idiots? Some athletes hire professional chefs to cook their meals every day. Some athletes have professional trainers to construct detailed workout regimens for them every day. And some athletes have professional dieticians so they know what foods and supplements would be best for their bodies.

So we’re supposed to believe that athletes like A-Rod would spend money to hire all these people to help them live healthier lives, yet they don’t know what’s going into their bodies? Come on. I read the bottle of aspirin twice just to make sure I take the correct dosage when I have a headache. And these athletes are saying that they don’t what kind of steroid they were about to take and what kind of side effects could come with it? Not a chance.

Alex RodriguezPerhaps the bigger issue in A-Rod’s apology is what he used as an excuse. He talked about being “young”, “naïve” and “stupid” when he took steroids. He was 26 in 2003 – not 16. Anyone who has gone through their teenage years and their early twenties probably did some stupid shit for a variety of reasons, none of which were probably given much thought. But by your mid-20’s, you’re fully aware of every decision you make and you have come up with justification for doing it.

Rodriguez didn’t take steroids because he was young and naïve – he took steroids to gain an edge. He took steroids to make his game better, which is ridiculous when you think about it because he was already better than anyone in the league at the time. He knew exactly why he took what he took, and probably came to a rational decision as to why to do it. (Therefore the young and naïve bit doesn’t fly.)

One can’t help but wonder if this is all part of A-Rod’s plan to weasel out of this situation with minimal damage. He’s already not well liked around the league, but many of us were hoping that he would legitimize the home run record by breaking the mark after Barry Bonds stole it from Hank Aaron. We thought, “Well, A-Rod’s an ass but at least when he breaks the record that cheater Bonds won’t have it.”

So what does A-Rod do when he gets caught? Admit to it, knowing that he might save a little face and not have to endure the same public scrutiny that Bonds, McGwire, Sosa, Palmero and Clemens did. After all, his own teammate Andy Pettitte came clean about using steroids and now you barely hear his name associated with those athletes that were caught using performance-enhancers.

A-Rod confessing that he did use steroids in 2003 is all well and good. But he also claims he hasn’t used steroids since then, yet if you look at pictures from 2003 until now, his body has changed all that much. The question now becomes: Did he just fess up to being caught so it would divert everyone’s attention away from the fact that he’s still on riods? If he did, he just hung himself in the court of public opinion. The American public loves to forgive and forget, but they won’t stand for being lied to twice.

Then again, maybe this is a pessimistic way of looking at this situation. Maybe Rodriguez truly did only take steroids for one year and has been clean ever since. Maybe his reasoning that he was young and naïve is a viable excuse. And maybe everyone should focus on the fact that he stepped forwarded and admitted his wrong doing instead of dragging the situation out further. When you look at how Bonds, McGwire, Clemens, Sosa and Palmeiro handled their respective situations, A-Rod looks like the poster child of for what to do when an athlete makes a mistake.

Either way, A-Rod better hope he knows what he’s doing because every step he makes from now until the end of his career will be reported and talked about in length. He’s not in Texas or Seattle anymore – he’s in New York. And that media has only begun to take aim on his situation.

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