Jim Caple defends Alex Rodriguez

In one of his latest columns, Jim Caple of ESPN.com takes it upon himself to defend Alex Rodriguez in the wake of all the allegations he has faced over the past couple months, from cheating on his wife with Madonna to taking steroids.

Look, I’m no huge fan of Rodriguez. I frequently find his responses insincere, calculated and vetted by a PR firm. He is so worried about his image and so anxious to come off just the right way that he invariably comes off the wrong way. In fact, he has a knack for coming off the worst way possible. He needs affirmation to an annoying degree. And this new charge that he tipped pitches is potentially more serious than any of the steroids stories. Frankly, it sounds almost unbelievable — if teammates don’t like him that much, how would he convince opponents to cheat with him? — but if true, that’s a very serious offense that would warrant a suspension at the minimum.

But has he bitten off the ear of an opponent? Has he been convicted of sexual assault? Squandered a couple of hundred million dollars? Organized a dog-fighting ring?

No. When a writer reports that the game’s highest-paid and perhaps best player has taken steroids, that’s news; no question about it. What he does on the field, and whether it violates the rules, is important news. But strippers, poker and sitting in the park without a shirt? Please. And yet the media spin on his personal life makes it seem like A-Rod is such a deviant he should play third base with an ankle bracelet.

I urge everyone to check out Caple’s piece because it’s well written and if you like sarcasm, he uses a ton of it to get his point across.

I do agree with Caple in that compared to Michael Vick, A-Fraud looks like Mother Teresa. But Caple should know more than anybody is that the media is an equal opportunity provider. As long as a celebrity is doing something, the media is going to blow the story up and put it in front of the public’s face because sadly, the public will always read it. As much as we say we do, we don’t want stories about firefighters saving puppies in trees. We want to hear about how A-Fraud screwed up his marriage by banging Madonna.

The media shows what the public wants to see and you’re fooling yourself if you think otherwise. Television producers and newspaper editors don’t sit around and go, “Hey, let’s only report the news that we want to see today – screw the public.” No, they show the stories that the public continues to come back for. Granted, some members of the media put a massive spin on things, but again, we the public is at fault too for continuing to read it.

Anyone who frequents TSR knows I try to talk about as many positive sports stories as possible. But if I did a post about Vick fighting dogs or Warrick Dunn buying homes for single mothers, what story do you think will get more hits? I hate it, but that’s reality. So while I don’t defend that the media focuses in on every move A-Fraud makes, but I also understand why they do it.

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