Feb. 10 -- Too many questions remain

8:17 AM

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I guess, at the most basic level, Alex Rodriguez is to be commended for admitting that for which he was caught. His admission, incomplete though it may be, puts him ahead of the Roger Clemenses, Barry Bondses and Mark McGwires of this sordid steroid world. He didn't deny what we already knew, didn't insult our intelligence, didn't hide behind the towering arrogance that convinces our biggest baseball stars that people will and should believe everything they say just because they're good at baseball.


To say that Alex "came clean" in his ESPN interview with Peter Gammons is to ignore that which wasn't addressed, and that which is still being denied.

The idea that Rodriguez didn't know what he was taking -- that he was somehow using stuff that may or may not have been illegal at the time or that he could "get at GNC" is ludicrous. Anybody who's studied this issue and these drugs can tell you that primobolan is not legal in the United States, was not legal in 2003 and cannot be found in any substance GNC sells. It's an extremely sophisticated steroid that sophisticated steroid users take in conjunction with testosterone in order to build strength without excessive bulk. Bodybuilders "stack" a drug like primobolan with synthetic testosterone -- using the former when they're cycling off the latter so that they can maintain their strength and their workout regimen without swelling up to dangerous (or suspicious) sizes.

The best bet is that Rodriguez, a world-class athlete with access to trainers, nutritionists, personal chefs and whatever else he needs to keep his body functioning at the highest possible level, knew exactly what he was taking and is trying to portray himself as a naif because that's easier to forgive. But even if we give him that -- even if we assume he was naive, caught up in that "loose culture" about which we all now know and didn't know everything he was taking -- then he should certainly know where and from whom he got his drugs. Given the drugs for which he has tested positive, whoever was administering them to him (assuming he wasn't doing it himself) would have known what they were for and what they would do. And if that's the case, he should be able to honestly answer questions about where he got them and from whom.

So it's clear, from watching this interview, that Alex is still holding back some information. It's clear that he's still lying, as he did when Katie Couric asked him in December of 2007 and the rest of us asked him in February of 2008 if he'd ever taken any performance-enhancers. It's clear that he could tell us (and, more importantly, Major League Baseball) more about what went on in that "loose culture" and enable everybody to learn the kind of information that would really, truly help the game move on.

It's clear that none of this would ever have come out if he hadn't been caught. He speaks of carrying a "gorilla" on his back, referencing his steroid secret. He says he feels great to finally reveal the truth. But if it was bothering him that much, why not come clean before the SI reporter shows up at the gym? He's obviously furious with Selena Roberts for breaking this story, and there's no way he'd have been sitting there with Peter Gammons yesterday if she (or someone else) hadn't.

So once again, we have to wonder if the cheater is sorry he cheated or if he's merely sorry he got caught. As I said above, give A-Rod more credit than you give Clemens and Bonds and those who insist on insulting our intelligence by denying what we all know. Given the standard that has so far been set in all of this, he's toward the more admirable end of the spectrum. But there's no way to believe he has really, as he claims, "put everything out there and been totally honest." He's still coming up short on that. And as long as he and the others who cheated in an effort to make themselves better baseball players keep coming up short, these kinds of stories are going to keep dribbling out, one by one, for years and years to come.

1 Response to "Feb. 10 -- Too many questions remain"

Jim said :
February 10, 2009 at 12:11 PM
I agree with you that there are still a lot of things out there, but it's bothersome that andy Pettitte gets a free pass for admitting the absolute bare minimum that was revealed before his confession and that Rodriguez gets pummeled even though he admitted far more extensive cheating than was in the article.

None of these guys should get a free pass, including Rodriguez. There's a lot Rodriguez still could and should do in terms of helpuing baseball learn from the past mistakes so that they can be applied to future problems, such as HGH. He also should spend a lot of time talking to kids and explaining why he was wrong.

It just always sticks in my craw that Pettitte got a walk and was commended for his "apology" which was far worse than what Rodriguez did yesterday.


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