SBD/Issue 100/Sports & Society

A-Rod Admission: Congress Not Expected To Seek His Testimony

Towns Says Government
Needs To Focus On Economy
U.S. House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform Chair Edolphus Towns (D-NY) yesterday indicated that the committee is not planning a hearing regarding Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez' admission to using performance-enhancing drugs, according to Jim Baumbach of NEWSDAY. Towns indicated that Congress has "more pressing matters than another ballplayer who used steroids." Towns in a statement said, "The American people need leaders who will focus on stemming job losses and getting credit to flow in the marketplace before hearing from yet another person who cheated both himself and the game of baseball." U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), who Monday suggested that the committee should call Rodriguez to testify, yesterday sent Rodriguez a letter asking him to join Cummings' "campaign to educate youngsters about the perils of steroid use" (NEWSDAY, 2/11). Cummings suggested that the committee interview Rodriguez to "gauge the need for further action." Cummings: "I don't necessarily see the need for another hearing, unless there is something in that interview to lead us ... to conclude it would be appropriate." Cummings added, "Right now, we just want to see if we can bring some closure to this thing" (WASHINGTON POST, 2/11). In N.Y., Mike Puma notes Towns "did not rule out additional hearings in the future" (N.Y. POST, 2/11). But MLB Network's Harold Reynolds said of Towns not planning on calling Rodriguez to DC, "It’s a complement to baseball. They’ve said, ‘Look, we don’t need to jump in here. There are more important things’" ("Hot Stove," MLB Network, 2/10).

SHOULD A-ROD GO TO WASHINGTON?'s Mike Florio noted while a "five-year statute of limitations for non-capital federal offenses likely will shield Rodriguez from prosecution" for his admitted use, the U.S. government "should cram the same microscope into his nether regions that it has applied" to players like Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Astros SS Miguel Tejada. Those three "each face jail time not for using steroids, but for lying about their use," and while "telling tales to Katie Couric doesn't carry the same consequences as committing perjury, the feds should promptly launch an investigation regarding Rodriguez's dalliance with illegal drugs" (, 2/10). Denver Post columnist Woody Paige said MLB "has to take steps and go to Congress … and reopen hearings, call more players. Let’s find out more about how we can prevent this." But ESPN's Michael Smith said, "I don’t want to see a single second of Congress’ time spent on anything other than fixing this country" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 2/10). ESPN’s Mike Greenberg: “Congress got into this for the right reasons and they should avoid A-Rod for exactly those reasons. ... They need to go worry about other things and not drag A-Rod down there just so that everybody gets a photo op” (“Mike & Mike in the Morning,” ESPN2, 2/11). WAXY-AM’s Dan Le Batard: “I want Congress away from the games. ... I don't want them anywhere near this.” ESPN’s Michael Wilbon: “I’m OK when there’s a larger investigation, when there’s a larger mission. But just to look into Alex Rodriguez, no! I’m not for that at anytime” ("PTI," ESPN, 2/10). 

Writers Criticize Reporter For Asking President
Obama About A-Rod During Press Conference
PRESIDENTIAL TREATMENT: President Obama Monday during his first primetime news conference answered a question about the Rodriguez situation and MLB's steroid testing policy, saying he was pleased MLB "seems to finally be taking this seriously.” In Orlando, Andrea Adelson writes, "What an embarrassment. Only a handful of reporters got to ask questions, this guy decided to waste everyone’s time with a question about Rodriguez" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 2/11). MLB Net's Matt Vasgersian: "Apparently that reporter thought there was nothing else going on in the world" ("Hot Stove," MLB Network, 2/10). Washington Post political reporter Chris Cillizza said Obama "doesn’t like to speak off-the-cuff all that much. He usually speaks from prepared remarks." Cillizza: "But every once in awhile, if you’ll notice, when reporters shout questions, the only ones that ever get answered are ones about sports” (“Washington Post Live,” Comcast SportsNet, 2/10).

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