February 16, 2009

There are always two sides of an event, no matter how ugly the situation is. The top sports story in the past week was not hyping the World Baseball Classic. It was not the NBA All-Star festivities. It was the fall of Alex Rodriguez, as he admitted to the world he cheated on America’s pastime as a Texas Ranger. Yet, how far did he fall? How much of his reputation has been damaged? Plus, how does this affect the sport and the administrators of the game?

It all started with a leaked report last Sunday. Sports Illustrated reporter Selena Roberts found information on 104 players that took steroids. Rodriguez was on that list and was the only name released to the press. According to her source, Rodriguez took testosterone and primobolan. Primobolan improves strength and maintains lean muscle with minimal bulk development and has few side effects. Rodriguez was looking bad in every possible way. Yet, he decided to tell his story as soon as possible.

Rodriguez was interviewed by ESPN senior reporter Peter Gammons. Some criticized the interview for being a glorified A-Rod show, but this was not the case. Gammons calmly interviewed Rodriguez while coming at him hardball style. Rodriguez answered every question truthfully about his use. He also appeared to hold his emotions in check. Rodriguez told Gammons and the world that he took steroids during his time as a Ranger. He said he did not take steroids as a Yankee or prior to Texas (including Seattle). Rodriguez apologized as he called himself “stupid, naïve.” ESPN and Gammons even showed the interview from 60 Minutes with Katie Couric, where he told her that he did not take steroids. Rodriguez told Gammons, “How can I be honest with her if I wasn’t honest with myself?” The interview seemed to be an immediate victory for Rodriguez.

The day after the interview was when all hell broke loose. Rodriguez criticized Selena Roberts and attacked her, saying that he had proof that she followed him everywhere including the University of Miami and his penthouse. Roberts released a statement saying that these allegations are false. The Miami police also said that they had no record of any incidents involving Roberts and Rodriguez. Rodriguez’s apology was not going to be trusted, but a little luck might ease the pain.

Roberts has a book on Rodriguez that will reveal more information on him and him alone. The book was supposed to be released in stores May 19th. Yet, HarperCollins (the publisher of the book) bumped up the release date to April 19th. A representative claimed that the information had to be released as soon as possible. Yet, this does not make Roberts well. The last time a book came out with steroid information cost two reporters to be incarcerated (see Game of Shadows). It also might not make Roberts a credible source for the truth. The scrutiny may not be that bad, but maybe that’s the reason why the other names have not been shown.

Rodriguez has endured the press well after the interview. He has not talked about steroid use, only in his quest for redemption. He seems to be doing well. Rodriguez still wants to do good for the future of this sport. His college alum, the University of Miami, still named their baseball field after him. Rodriguez gave a nice speech about owning up to mistakes, as he knows that he must rebuild his trust with the fans and the world of baseball. He also apologized to Roberts for the accusations against her during the ESPN interview. This is a good start to repairing his image.

In yesterday’s New York Times: Week in Review section, Bill Marsh’s article The Voice Was Lying. The Face May Have Told the Truth revealed a psychologist’s study on Rodriguez’s interview on 60 Minutes. Dr. Paul Ekman has specialized in the meanings of facial expressions and body movements, whether a person has lied or not. He found at least three movements. The first one is the gestural slip, where it is a slight raise of a shoulder that slips out of a full gesture. The second one is called “unilateral” contempt, which is the raising and tightening of the corner of the lip that can indicate arrogance or superiority. The third one is called “microfear,” which is a horizontal stretching of the lips that is used to conceal fearfulness. This brings up an intriguing question: Who knew that Rodriguez lied when the interview just came out?

Now, what have we learned? It turns out that you can’t trust anyone without proof. It also turns out that the people that release certain information aren’t necessarily heroes. It’s also interesting how one act from the past can turn you into public enemy number one. Who can you side with? Do you side with Rodriguez and try to forgive him? Do you side with Roberts and want even more information about his troubles? In my experiences when dealing with lies and deceit, I have learned the best side is to look at it from a “grey” perspective.

It appears that this is only the beginning of this saga. It’s only a matter of time before someone gets burned for this. Rodriguez and Roberts will probably fight over the course of this season. If we pick a side, then we must accept the bad with the good. If you side with Rodriguez, then you must defend him for his lies as well as the truth. If you side with Roberts, then you must defend her for her book and her reasons to attack Rodriguez. If you cannot do any of these things, then look at it from all sides. Nobody is perfect, so pick at your own risk.

Well, that’s it for today. If you disagree, don’t be shy. E-mail me back right here, and I’ll respond. Until then, stay cool you KNUCKLEHEADS!!!

Yours truly,

Sebastian Maldonado

Copyright © 2007 by Sebastian Maldonado

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