SBD/Issue 100/Sports Media

A-Rod Admission: Gammons Admits He Should Have Backed Roberts

Gammons Says He Was Trying To
Get Rodriguez In His Own Words
ESPN's Peter Gammons yesterday acknowledged he "should have interrupted" Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez during their interview Monday when Rodriguez accused SI's Selena Roberts of stalking him. In an e-mail to DEADSPIN's A.J. Daulerio, Gammons said, "My first question asked if Selena's story were true, he essentially admitted it was, and I believed she was therefore vindicated. I usually don't get into grudges, and felt he was promoting her book, which will be her response. I was trying to get Alex in his own words" (, 2/10). Roberts yesterday said of Gammons' approach during Rodriguez' attack on her, "I wasn't troubled. I respect Peter and like Peter as a person. You always wish there was a follow-up because you're on the other side of it. In the moment he might have thought, 'Let's get back to the issue at hand.'" Roberts said of Rodriguez' accusations against her, "My first thought was, 'What is he talking about? Where is he going with this?' I wasn't sure exactly where he was heading, but I know for a fact everything that came out of his mouth was a fabrication. I don't know how he could believe anything that was such a grand distortion." Roberts insisted that she "has nothing personal" against Rodriguez. Roberts: "I just think he's complicated. He certainly has an interesting life arc and a baseball arc that is unparalleled. It's fascinating to me" (NEWSDAY, 2/11). Roberts added of the accusations, "Maybe its some sort of attempt to divert the attention away from what he’s gone through. ... I don’t know. I can’t get inside that guy’s head" ("The Dan Patrick Show," 2/10).

NO TRUTH TO CLAIMS: In N.Y., Rubin & Gagne report police departments in N.Y., Miami and Coral Gables, Florida, claim Rodriguez "never reported Selena Roberts' alleged crimes to them." Miami Beach police detective Juan Sanchez: "I haven't been able to find anything to corroborate that she has tried to break into his home. I haven't been able to find anything that corroborates the statement Alex Rodriguez made to ESPN." Sanchez said that Miami Beach police "did file a 'miscellaneous incident report' after police were called to answer a security guard's question about whether the island where Rodriguez lives is public or private property." Sanchez said Roberts was "trying to gain access onto the island, and they had no right to stop her." Sanchez: "It's a public right of way" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 2/11).

Some Critical Of Gammons
Not Backing Up Roberts
NO BACK UP FOR ROBERTS:'s Tom Verducci wrote the "worst performance, by both Rodriguez and Gammons, was in the treatment of Roberts." Rodriguez "went out of his way to try to impugn Roberts," and not once did Gammons "follow up, letting attacks on a fellow journalist with a sterling reputation go unquestioned." Meanwhile, Verducci noted Gammons "handed Rodriguez his own timeline" for using performance-enhancing drugs "by asking, 'You're saying that time period was 2001, 2002 and 2003?'" Verducci: "And when Rodriguez responded, 'That's pretty accurate, yes,' Gammons ... stuck to the script and did not follow up." What Gammons "missed is that Rodriguez clearly never admitted to using steroids," as his choice of words was "Clinton-esque" (, 2/10). In Cleveland, Bud Shaw wrote, "I wonder why ESPN's Peter Gammons let Rodriguez say the time frame was 'pretty accurate.' It's either accurate or it's inaccurate" (, 2/10). Roberts said of Rodriguez, "He talked about banned substances, but certainly didn’t illuminate exactly what or why he did what he did.” Meanwhile, she added she would have asked Rodriguez "a little more about the substances he took and what he thought was a banned substance; how he had access to it. Did he ever take an injection? ... A little bit more background about who he was talking about when he talked about the steroid culture" ("The Dan Patrick Show," 2/10).

HANGING CURVE: Two writers, who both preface their comments by relating negative experiences they each had with Gammons, react to his interview of Rodriguez. SI's Jeff Pearlman on his blog wrote Gammons scored the interview with Rodriguez because he is the "Larry King of sports television." Pearlman: "Softball questions, limited inquisitiveness, an easy time for all involved. ... He had to -- absolutely had to -- follow up Rodriguez's presumably ludicrous accusations with a question or two or three or 10" (, 2/9). In N.Y., Filip Bondy wrote Gammons is "basically a professional apologist" for MLB. Bondy: "The only reason I'm writing so bitterly about him ... is that he sat there on Monday and allowed Alex Rodriguez to call Selena Roberts ... a 'stalker' without challenging him on that point at all. Gammons couldn't carry Roberts' laptop, when it comes to real journalism" (, 2/10).

EARNING THEIR STRIPES: On Long Island, Neil Best wrote MLB Network "deserves the props it has gotten for covering a story that does not reflect well on MLB,"  but the MLBPA has taken the "brunt of the criticism in the wake of this story." Best: "Will the network be as aggressive when a story makes the commissioner's office look bad? No way to answer that until such a story comes up." Also, "did someone tip off MLB Network execs Saturday that the story was coming, allowing them to begin putting everyone in place, including getting [Bob] Costas and Roberts on live four hours after the initial report was posted?" A source "did not deny the network likely got a heads up before the SI story was posted" (, 2/10).

LAYING LOW: In Albany, Pete Dougherty wrote, "Apparently not every network was devoting as much of its air time as possible to the Alex Rodriguez admission of steroids use." YES Network, which is owned by the Yankees, had a Rodriguez "Yankeeography" scheduled for midnight ET Monday night, but the net ran a Baseball HOFer Yogi Berra "Yankeeography" instead (, 2/10).

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