SBD/Issue 98/Leagues & Governing Bodies

The A-Rod Story: Rodriguez, Boras Planning Response To SI Report

Boras Helping A-Rod Prepare
Response To SI Report
Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez yesterday returned to the U.S. from the Bahamas and "huddled with his longtime mentor, his once-estranged agent" Scott Boras, to prepare to address a Sports Illustrated report that he tested positive for steroids in '03, according to King & Mangan of the N.Y. POST. Boras yesterday said he spoke with Rodriguez on Saturday night and planned to speak with him again last night. Rodriguez and Boras "had a falling-out" in '07, and while the two have since reconciled, Rodriguez has been "relying on guidance" from Guy Oseary, who manages Madonna. But a friend of Rodriguez said that he is "better off listening to Boras than Oseary." The friend: "I feel like he needs help with stuff right now. When they were a tandem, there was more good than bad. For a little while now, it's been one nightmare after another." Dodgers coach Larry Bowa, who was a coach with the Yankees from '06-07, said of Rodriguez' forthcoming response to the report, "If he tries to fight this, he is done" (N.Y. POST, 2/9). On Long Island, Ken Davidoff reports the Yankees "have no choice but to support" Rodriguez, but they "don't anticipate being heavily involved in the preparation of any public statements." A source said of Rodriguez, "He's got to clean up this mess. He's got the keys to the kingdom. It's his show." Davidoff notes when the Yankees "reached out to Major League Baseball on Saturday to try to confirm the story, they were informed that the 2003 test results are anonymous and confidential." The Yankees are "as much in the dark as everyone else," and they will "see what A-Rod has to say before fully forming their crisis-management plan" (NEWSDAY, 2/9).

THE REPORT: SI's Roberts & Epstein cited four sources as saying that Rodriguez in '03 "tested positive for two anabolic steroids," as his name "appears on a list of 104 players who tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs" in MLB's survey testing. As part of a joint agreement with the MLBPA, the testing was "conducted to determine if it was necessary to impose mandatory random drug testing" across MLB in '04. Rodriguez Thursday declined to discuss the test results and said, "You'll have to talk to the union." MLB Exec VP/Labor Relations Rob Manfred Saturday in a statement said because the '03 survey testing was "intended to be non-disciplinary and anonymous, we can not make any comment on the accuracy of this report as it pertains to the player named." Meanwhile, three MLBers said that Rodriguez in early September '04 was tipped by MLBPA COO Gene Orza that he "would be tested later that month." Rodriguez declined to comment on whether Orza warned him. Orza Friday said of the tipping allegations, "I'm not interested in discussing this information with you" (SI.com, 2/7).

HOW THEY GOT THE STORY: SI's Selena Roberts said she and SI's David Epstein, with whom she co-authored the report, were "working on a profile" of Rodriguez when they "began hearing rumors about steroid use." Roberts: "You hear a lot of things in this business, so we went about our due diligence in nailing down the truth." Roberts said they contacted the MLBPA and gave Exec Dir Donald Fehr "two days to respond." After no response, Epstein on Friday went to Orza's office, where he declined to discuss the situation (SI.com, 2/8). Meanwhile, Roberts approached Rodriguez last week in Miami and asked him about the reports. Roberts: "As soon as I told him what we had, his response was really not a response. His response was to tell me to call the union” ("Nightly News," NBC, 2/7). She added Rodriguez "seemed surprised that I would even ask the question” about possible steroid use ("World News," ABC, 2/7).

STILL ON FOR UM FUNCTION: In New Jersey, Pete Caldera notes while there is "no word about when Rodriguez might speak” publicly for the first time since the report surfaced, the Univ. of Miami (UM) is scheduled to honor Rodriguez Friday at a "dinner to rededicate its baseball field, Mark Light Field at Alex Rodriguez Park." Rodriguez donated $3.9M to the school for the project. An associate of Rodriguez said that he "still planned to attend the event," and a UM spokesperson said that the event "would go on as scheduled" (Bergen RECORD, 2/9). In N.Y., Joshua Robinson writes because the UM event is a fundraiser that "depends heavily on Rodriguez's popularity and charisma, the dedication could turn into an early gauge of how much his image will suffer." The UM athletic department charged guests $75 each and $1,000 to sponsor a table at the dinner (N.Y. TIMES, 2/9).

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