Monday, May 4, 2009

The Story That Won't Go Away

After a weekend full of golf at the Quail Hollow Championship, I came upon a TV interview Bob Costas did with Sports Illustrated reporter Selena Roberts. The topic, Alex Rodriguez and the new performance enhancing drug allegations Roberts uncovers in her new book on the infamous Yankees third baseman.

Many will see this book as piling on an individual that has already admitted a mistake. Others will see it as a money grab by member of the media. But for members of my profession as well as die-hard baseball fans, the new information brought to light is important for shaping our beliefs as to whether A-Rod is truly a Hall of Fame player.

In the interview, Roberts admits that there's no hardcore evidence, but she researched and claims she scrutinized her sources thoroughly. Now I don't know Roberts, but from everything I've read or heard, her credentials as an accurate reporter are among the best in the business. Let's recap, she broke the story that Rodriguez had tested positive for steroids in 2003. A-Rod has admitted as much, although the whole truth behind how and why leaves something to be desired. So now when Roberts writes in her book that Rodriguez has been using steroids since high school, and that he continued to use performance enhancers when with the Yankees (something Rodriguez had already denied), one can't just dismiss it.

So why delve into this man's life? Well, if it's true that A-Rod has been on performance enhancers since the beginning, his ENTIRE CAREER is tainted. And for someone who has been labeled one of the greatest players ever and who could potentially break the all-time home run record, he's cheated the fans and disrespected the game. I don't have time to go into the other new revelations of tipping pitches to opposing players so they would return the favor to him; other than to say that, if true, it wouldn't be the first time A-Rod has broken baseball protocol.

As fans and as journalists, we are fascinated by sports figures and how they were able to succeed at such a high level. So, researching and writing a book on Alex Rodriguez makes perfect sense. Sadly, we don't always like what we find. Roberts admits she began this project under the assumption that A-Rod was clean. Unless Rodriguez ever explains the whole truth, just how clean a player he is might be a debate that will never end.

Fans deserve the truth. Not just from A-Rod, but from all players who are lucky enough to play professional sports. No matter what the sport. Because if you think baseball is the only one dealing with artificially enhanced players, you are gravely mistaken.

Jason Brown

No comments: