JEFF PEARLMAN

Coming October 2022: "The Last Folk Hero: The Life and Myth of Bo Jackson"

I’m Alex Rodriguez, and I’m a fool.

The best response to my posts of late came from a reader named JM, who wrote:

“Let’s all try to be honest, starting with you Jeff. Admit there is NOTHING A Rod could have said to change your opinion about him. He could have done a Pettite and admitted just what was disclosed, limiting usage to only one year. But he didn’t do that. And it’s not his burden to blow the whistle on others. No doubt had he done so, you Jeff would have called him on it for trying to shine the spotlight away from himself. A journalist without objectivity is on the same level as an athlete who juices. Maybe worse, on second thought, so it’s time for you to look in the mirror and locate your objectivity.”

First, I’d like to thank JM for commenting. The points are understandable, and well-stated.

That said, I disagree.

To begin with, the argument of objectivity is thrown out the window when one works as a columnist—as I do. I am paid to have an opinion, and while I didn’t begin yesterday thinking one way or the other about Alex Rodriguez, his words and actions certainly swayed me to take a stance.

Second, there is something ARod could have said that would have left me with a positive impression. First, he could have come clean. Not half clean, not 1/4 clean. Clean, period. I do not believe his garbage about Selena Roberts—a top-flight reporter—breaking into his apartment. I do not believe he doesn’t remember what he took. I do not believe his vague dates, and his jarring inability to recall key details. I just don’t—and it’s hard for me to imagine many level-headed people do. I’ve usually cringed in the past when my colleagues have referred to ARod as a “fraud.” He seemed nice enough … available … decent. Could he really be that full of crap?

Alas, the answer: Yes.

What should ARod have said? Something like this: “Here’s exactly what happened. I used steroids from X date to X date. I did it because X. The steroids I used were X, X and X. Even though hundreds of guys were doing it, that’s no excuse. I let so many people down, and I feel like an absolute fool. If you’re home right now, and you’re a kid dreaming of one day playing in the Major Leagues, please, please, please don’t follow my lead on this one. If you cheat, you get caught. Look at me. I used to be your hero—now I’m a bum.”