I watched Alex Rodriquez with Peter Gammons on ESPN last night. For those who don’t know, I covered baseball for over 8 years at WFAN and WOR (a lot less glamorous than it sounds–think of me as a “soundbyte gatherer” as opposed to a reporter) and had the opportunity to meet and interview A-Rod when he was with Seattle. I found him to be surprisingly nice–I say “surprisingly” because many baseball players–especially the bigger stars hate the media and are often surly. A-Rod, at least in Seattle, was one of the rare exceptions.
So keep in mind that this is a guy who I genuinely liked meeting and interacting with and a guy who I found to be an outstanding player on the field as well.
So what do i think should be done to A-Rod after he was caught and then admitted that he used steroids in 2001-2003?
I would opt that A-Rod’s contract should be void now with the Yankees and he can only re-sign with them under their terms. He should not be allowed to take on any endorsement deals and should be fined at least 40% of the value of his contract from 2001-2003.
The same punishment should also be doled out to the other 103 ballplayers on that list–that now have become public despite the baseball union’s lack of protecting these players who submitted their results for an anonymous test. It’s time for baseball to take a stand and while there were no rules in play for this type of behavior at that juncture, the bottom line is that baseball’s numbers have now been artificially inflated because of drugs.
And baseball is a numbers game. This has so much stink on it now that a good bath with tomato juice won’t clean it. We can never look at this time of baseball history again in the same way. Period. End of story.
A-Rod cited being “young and stupid” feeling pressure to perform and a host of other convenient excuses. While I’m apt to forgive people their faults and move on (we’re a forgiving church after all), I’m less apt to do so once someone gets caught and has imperfect contrition. If this report doesn’t come out–then A-Rod is still playing and not about to mention anything to anyone about his steroid use.
The worst part about it for me was when he said and I paraphrase, “I don’t even know what substance I was found guilty of taking.”
So does that mean he was possibly taking many different substances? Who knows?
While our church emphasizes forgiveness and I admit that it takes a big man to stand up and admit that these reports are true as opposed to Roger Clemens (who I suspect is still taking steroids) who will never admit it, it also demands justice.