SBD/Issue 98/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

The A-Rod Story: How He Responds Is Key To His Public Perception

Many Feel A-Rod Should Hold News
Conference To Discuss Steroid Issue
Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez should hold a news conference and "tell the truth, the whole truth, about [his] use of steroids" after a Sports Illustrated report claimed that he tested positive for them in ’03, according to Phil Rogers of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. Yankees P Andy Pettitte "issued an open apology after his name came up in the Mitchell report, and a lot of people have given him a break and let him get on with his career." Conversely, both Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens are "getting dragged deeper and deeper into the criminal court system" after attempting to fight similar claims. If Rodriguez opts for a similar route as Bonds and Clemens, he "will be viewed as a Rafael Palmeiro-style joke, in addition to a cheat." Rogers: "Come clean for your own good and to lessen the fishbowl hell that will be the last nine years of your 10-year deal with the New York Yankees" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 2/8). In N.Y., Harvey Araton writes, "It will be fascinating to see what strategy A-Rod embraces: silence, denial, attack or a Pettitte-like confessional" (N.Y. TIMES, 2/8).

HONESTY IS SUCH A LONELY WORD: ESPN.com's Buster Olney wrote one route for Rodriguez to take is to be "Honest and Open." Rodriguez "could talk about everything: what he did, when he did it, why he did, his regrets, his concerns, side effects, the benefits, the costs." Olney: "This would be something very rarely seen in the steroid era -- a time filled with thousands of mistakes by users, by union leaders, by the baseball commissioner and by baseball owners. And yet it's a time of embarrassingly few specific, sincere admissions. Doing so would be the right thing" (ESPN.com, 2/8). In DC, Thomas Boswell: "Confession may or may not be good for the soul. But it is definitely good career strategy" (WASHINGTON POST, 2/9). A Yankees official said, "If he did it, he's got to flat-out admit it, like [A's 1B Jason] Giambi. Just come out and say, 'I did it. I'm sorry. I lied.'" The official added Rodriguez' legacy is now "gone." The official: "He'll just play it out. Now he's a worker. Do your job, collect your paycheck and when you're finished playing, go away. That's what it is." Several other front-office officials declined to comment (N.Y. TIMES, 2/8).

Writer Feels Fans Will Forgive
A-Rod If He Tells Truth
LET IT ALL OUT: In N.Y., Joel Sherman writes Rodriguez "must become the first player to really explain the steroid era." Sherman: "We are not talking about naming names of others. We are talking about honestly talking about the culture in baseball at the time. ... He must show why using was such a bad decision for someone as talented as him. He should do that by saying that he will let [WADA] select the best testing lab in the world and oversee a program for which he will pay but have no control" (N.Y. POST, 2/9). In Newark, Steve Politi: "For once, Rodriguez can think about somebody but himself and do the right thing for baseball. Start with an admission. Finish with an apology. And, in between, come clean on all the details. Fans will forgive a cheater eventually. It's the liars they hate the most" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 2/8). In N.Y., Kevin Kernan wrote Rodriguez "should stand up before everyone and admit the truth," and if the truth is that he failed the test, he "must apologize." Rodriguez "can't stonewall or ignore the accusation." But "those close to Rodriguez expect him to fight back" (N.Y. POST, 2/8). MLB.com's Fred Claire, in an open letter to Rodriguez, wrote, "This is a time for you, Alex, to step forward and take full control. It is your career. It is your life. Simply stated, you need to step forward and tell everything you recall about your involvement, or lack of involvement, with steroids" (MLB.com, 2/8). But FOXSPORTS.com's Ken Rosenthal writes Rodriguez "would risk legal exposure if he admitted" to using steroids, leaving himself "vulnerable to investigation from federal prosecutors." If Rodriguez "comes clean," he "not only would put himself at risk, but also compromise the other 103 players who tested positive" in '03. But "for all anyone knows, he might even fight back" (FOXSPORTS.com, 2/9).

REPUTATION IN TATTERS: In London, Tom Dart writes the image of "another clean-cut American sporting icon has been badly damaged," and the news is "another deep wound to the reputation of a sport that is paying the price for years of inaction and leniency" (LONDON TIMES, 2/9). ESPN.com's Olney wrote under the header, "A-Rod Now Tarnished Forever" (ESPN.com, 2/8). ESPN.com's Howard Bryant wrote under the header, "Steroid Past Brings Down Future King" (ESPN.com, 2/7). Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan: "Image is everything to Alex Rodriguez, and now that image is shattered” ("The Sports Reporters," ESPN, 2/8). FOXSPORTS.com's Mark Kriegel writes, "No one really cares if football players do steroids. They tend to die young, anyway. ... But baseball is different. Baseball is a game of numbers. ... When you mess with those numbers, you mess with The Game. And that's exactly what Rodriguez has done" (FOXSPORTS.com, 2/9).

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