Alex Rodriguez did the right thing and stepped forward to admit he used steroids from 2001-2003 while playing for the Texas Rangers.
A-Rod told ESPN’s Peter Gammons in an interview, “Back then it was a different culture. It was very loose. I was young. I was stupid. I was naive, and I wanted to prove to everyone that, you know, I was worth, you know- and being one of the greatest players of all time. ”
Rodriguez’s confession came two days after a published report issued by Sports Illustrated stated that he had failed a survey test administered in 2003 by Major League Baseball to determine how rampant steroid usage was in the sport. Rodriguez tested positive for Primobolan and testosterone.
However, the testing was done with a condition of anonymity and players who tested positive for banned substances were not subject to punishment at the time.
Rodriguez also told ESPN that he was young and naïve and made a mistake.
“It was such a loosey-goosey era. I’m guilty for a lot of things. I’m guilty for being negligent, naive, not asking all the right questions,” Rodriguez said. “To be quite honest, I don’t know exactly what substance I was guilty of using.”
A-Rod offered his apologies for his actions.
“And I did take a banned substance and, you know, for that I’m very sorry and deeply regretful. And although it was the culture back then and Major League Baseball overall was very-I just feel that-You know, I’m just sorry. I’m sorry for that time. I’m sorry to fans. I’m sorry for my fans in Texas. It wasn’t until then that I ever thought about substance of any kind, and since then I’ve proved to myself and to everyone that I don’t need any of that.”
Rodriguez’s name was one of 104 names included on a list that was cited by the Sports Illustrated. His admission directly contradicts the statements he made in a 2007 interview on 60 Minutes in which he said he had never taken steroids, human growth hormone or any other performance enhancing drug to compete.
“I’ve never felt overmatched on the baseball field,” he said at that time. “I felt that if I did my, 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.”
A-Rod’s name has frequently appeared in the sports section and tabloids in recent months. He and his wife Cynthia divorced after the ex-Mrs. Rodriguez filed for divorce and referred to A-Rod’s alleged adultery. Rodriguez was romantically linked to Madonna, but both denied an amorous involvement or that it was a reason that Madonna, too, divorced her husband director Guy Ritchie.
Just last month Rodriguez was a major subject of attention in Joe Torre’s new book The Yankee Years where Torre painted Rodriguez as a narcissist who craved attention and was more worried about he looked in a situation than just getting the job done. Torre also referred to A-Rod’s “single white female” obsession with Derek Jeter.
Now Rodriguez comes as the latest big name to pop up in the never ending steroid scandal. However, by getting out in front of the story and admitting he used illegal performance enhancing drugs A-Rod has avoided the same trappings that have snared the likes of Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro. Oh sure, he’ll have to answer a gazillion questions down the road, but what he may have done is save his bid to enter baseball’s Hall of Fame after he hangs up his spikes.
America loves to forgive. Just look at Andy Pettitte and Jason Giambi. They made their mea culpas about using illegal substances and have pretty much been left alone. And let’s face it, A-Rod is correct in saying he was just a dumb kid when he did what he did. The same line Michael Phelps used when he got caught performing mouth-to-mouth on a bong full of Marijuana. Phelps will lose some endorsements for a time, but eventually he’ll work his way back into everyone’s good graces. Alex Rodriguez can do the same. He just has to use his smarts and avoid controversial situations. That often proves to be a very tough task for Mr. Rodriguez.
I bet there is one person who would probably like to thank A-Rod for taking the heat off him, and that would be Joe Torre. Thanks to A-Rod’s latest fall down the stairs Torre moved to the back burner.
Correction: In my article on Saturday, “Steroids Scandal Could Take Down A-Rod ,” I inadvertently said A-Rod, who denied using steroids in an interview on 60 Minutes, gave that interview in 2003. The correct year was 2007.