There’s a right way to approach situations and a wrong way. Yankee captain Derek Jeter chose the wrong way by not addressing teammate Alex Rodriguez’s admission that he was a steroid cheat.
Nearly a week ago A-Rod’s name came out in a published Sports Illustrated report, written by Selena Roberts, in which she said that A-Rod was one of 104 players who failed a drug test. Rodriguez allegedly tested positive for the steroid Primobolan and testosterone during the test given in 2003 to determine how prevalent steroid usage was in baseball. Per an agreement between the MLB and the players’ union the names of the players were to remain anonymous and there was no punishment attached for failing. Roberts cited four anonymous sources in filing her story.
The fact A-Rod’s name or anyone else’s became public, after the participants were promised anonymity should be the subject of its own investigation, as someone clearly overstepped their authority in leaking out this information. However, that’s a story for another day.
Two days later Rodriguez, who up to that time remained silent about the story, appeared on ESPN to be interviewed by Peter Gammons. Rodriguez to the amazement of many looked at Gammons and admitted he had used steroids from 2001 to 2003 while playing for the Texas Rangers. A-Rod won his first MVP award during the 2003 season. Rodriguez blamed his youth and naivety, plus being the culture of the times, that led to his using illegal substances.
The next day, Jeter, who was working out at the Yankees’ minor league complex in Tampa, Florida was contacted by reporters to give a statement about A-Rod’s confession. Here’s where things went wrong. Instead of coming along side of his third baseman to offer support Jeter chose to stall.
“I’m not addressing Alex’s situation until everybody’s here,” the Yankee captain said. “I’m not going to do it every single day. Are things a distraction? It’s a distraction when you talk about it every single day.”
Fair enough, don’t talk about it until everyone who covers the Yankees spring training is present so you can say all you want at one time. But what’s the matter with, “I’m not addressing Alex’s situation until everybody’s here, but as a teammate I am here to support Alex and to help him publicly in any way I can. That’s all I’ve got so say for now.” Or, he could’ve issued a statement through the Yankees’ media relations department and basically said the same thing.
Instead, Jeter’s silence and lack of support leaves open conjecture and imagination. Now, the news media can infer anything it wants as to how Jeter views A-Rod. Until Jeter decides when the time is right no one, including A-Rod, is going to know what he’s thinking.
Today, reporters grabbed Andy Pettitte to get his views on Rodriguez’s situation. Pettitte, himself, went through a similar trial in December of 2007 when his name was cited in George Mitchell’s 20-month, steroid investigation report submitted to baseball commissioner Bud Selig.
At the time of Pettitte’s difficulty Jeter had no problem coming out and supporting his teammate and friend.
“Andy knows how I feel about him, and he knows how we feel about him as an organization,” Jeter said. “It took a lot of courage for him to come out and be honest about it. Hopefully he can move on.”
After Pettitte took approximately 55 minutes or so to apologize for his using steroids Jeter, who was present at the act of contrition gave the big lefty a hug, which clearly relieved Pettitte’s anxiety.
So where was Jeter’s support for A-Rod’s honesty and courage?
Pettitte had no problem coming to the aid of his troubled comrade in pinstripes. According to reports, Pettitte set about texting A-Rod and he talked to him on the phone.
“He’s my teammate, and I love him.” Pettitte told reporters. “It has no effect at all, the way I look at him.”
Pettitte knows how those outside of the organization may look at A-Rod.
“Obviously he’s going to get a lot of criticism, and it could affect him,” he said.
The Yankees are bracing for the maelstrom of reporters who will be descending on George M. Steinbrenner Field on Tuesday when Rodriguez and the rest of the position players report. There will be a lot of notebooks, cameras and tape recorders shoved into players’ faces to get statements. Most of those will be pointed in A-Rod’s direction. They’ll also be pointed in the Yankee captain’s way as well.
Maybe, by then, Jeter will have figured out what he’s going to say.
Leyritz Arrested for Violating Terms of Release
Former Yankees catcher and 1996 World Series hero Jim Leyritz was arrested in Fort Lauderdale, Florida after a judge revoked Leyritz’s bond for violating the terms of his pretrial release for DUI and manslaughter. Leyritz was arrested on December 28, 2007 when he ran a red light in Fort Lauderdale killing a 30-year old mother of two. Leyritz’s blood alcohol level was 0.14 at the time of the crash. Interestingly, the victim, Frieda Ann Veitch, had a blood alcohol level of 0.18. Florida’s legal limit is 0.08.
Leyritz’s car had a system installed whereby Leyritz had to blow into a device in order to start the car. According to authorities, the device recorded that Leyritz had consumed alcohol on four occasions since being installed in April of 2008. Leyritz was forbidden to drink alcoholic beverages as part of the conditions for his release.
Leyritz is tentatively set to go to trial on May 25. If convicted, Leyritz could face up to 15 years in prison. He has pleaded not guilty.