I've been silent on this issue thus far, but after today's press conference I feel passionate enough to speak. The bottom line is that I believe A-Rod knowingly used steriods and that he is only sorry because he was caught.
First of all, I don't buy that he didn't know what he was taking. An athlete of his calliber is not naive about what he's putting into his body. It's even more suspicious that he was having his cousin buy the steroids from the Dominican. If you can't get it over-the-counter here, wouldn't you think perhaps it's a substance you shouldn't use? Even if that's not the case, wouldn't you investigate a substance from a foreign country that is unavailable over-the-counter here? I know very little about this substance other than what the commentators have said today, but it sounds like it's an expensive, designer steroid.
Second of all, I don't buy his statement that he's not sure the substance improved his performance at all. He claims he doesn't even know if they were using it right. To that, I say the same thing I said above: an athlete of his calliber is not naive about what he's putting into his body. As far as it not affecting his performance, all I can say is that stats don't lie. He admitted to using the substance from 2001-2003. His homerun average during those years was 52 - compared to a 42 homerun average over his other 13 playing years. Would we still consider him a phenomenal talent in his non-steroid years? Absolutely. That's why he looks even dumber for ever taking the steroids.
There are various other reasons I'm disgusted with how he has handled this situation. Last week he threw Selena Roberts under the bus, then today he was throwing his cousin under the bus. Why can't he man up and take the blame? Oh wait, he did that about 50 times during the press conference when he took the blame and then quickly explained that he entered the league when he was 18 and that he was young and immature. I don't even know where to start on that. Plenty of players enter the Majors at that age. Not to mention that he wasn't 18 when he was doing the steriods, he was in his mid-twenties. When I was in my mid-twenties I was finishing law school. Most of us were smart enough and mature enough at that age to know that we shouldn't be injecting steroids from foreign countries into our rear ends.
Age and immaturity was a better excuse than the one he provided last week, however. Nothing any baseball player has ever said has made me as mad as I was last week when he blamed it on the pressure he had to perform as a result of his landmark contract. We all know that player contracts have gotten out of control. Now you want to tell me that you used steroids in order to live up to that contract? That's just disgusting.
Before I'm done, let's not forget today's performance. That's what it was, a performance. And it was a performance that included the worst attempt to produce tears that I've ever seen. He did the press conference because he had to, not because he felt he owed it to his teammates or fans. He originally only told his teammates "Thanks," and only elaborated when a member of the media prompted him by mentioning that he choked up (the fake tear performance) and should continue his message to his teammates. Another member of the media asked him if he had considered submitting himself to greater testing than that which is required. His reponse was something to the effect that he complied with the current system and it wasn't his place to judge his effectiveness. Shouldn't he want to do anything within his power to prove this was all a thing of the past? I simply saw nothing genuine out of him today when I looked at his face. I do think he's sorry, but only that he was caught.
All that being said, I hope the baseball world moves on from this story in the coming weeks. I don't think the actions of this one man should put a black cloud on the entire season. Obviously other players were using back then, but now there's testing. When I watch the Braves during the season, I won't look around the field and wonder who's using steroids. I hope Yankees fans can say the same.