PETER GAMMONS is one of the most respected writers in baseball, but after the way he handled the Alex Rodriguez “exclusive” on ESPN, I suggest he sticks to post-match sound bites in future.
In fairness to Gammons, Team A-Rod chose him and his station for a reason. Naturally, they wanted a carefully choreographed interview to limit the damage caused by their client’s “stupidity” and “naivety” in taking performance-enhancing drugs.
An interview during which the words “performance-enhancing”, “drugs” and “steroids” were taboo.
As Abraham Lincoln said, you can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.
Judging by the reaction to the A-Rod interview, some people are actually buying his story. Even though I’m an ardent fan of the New York Yankees, I’m not among them. There are far too many flaws in it.
Are we really supposed to believe that after taking steroids for three years from 2001 to 2003, he had a sudden revelation in bed one day that what he was doing was wrong?
How can we be sure that he hasn’t been taking drugs throughout his career and, since 2003, has managed to avoid detection?
He lied to Katie Couric during his 60 Minutes interview in December, 2007. So why should we believe a word he says now?
ESPN’s A-Rod exclusive a sham
His explanation? “I was lying to myself.” Hold on a second, Alex. I thought you said you saw the light in 2004?
Two other things really bother me about the Gammons interview. One is the fact that A-Rod evaded the question about who supplied him with the drugs while he was playing for the Texas Rangers. The other is that he denies any knowledge of what he was taking.
As one of his friends said: “Alex is so meticulous about what he eats and drinks and puts in his body, if there’s broccoli on his plate, he has to know where it was grown.”
Okay, so this all happened a few years ago, or so he says. But is an athlete so concerned with his shape and appearance really going to take an unknown substance that could have long-term effects? That’s a little hard to swallow.
Gammons failed to press him on either point. Surely the rest of the media won’t give him such an easy ride when they finally get to him.
A-Rod even had the gall to try to deflect attention from himself by attacking Selena Roberts, the reporter who first broke the story on Sports Illustrated’s website.
Roberts denies that she stalked A-Rod, saying: “I can tell you that long list of things he alleged were a complete fabrication.”
Any self-respecting journalist will go to the subject of their story and give him or her the chance to respond to the allegations.
It took Rodriguez five days to make that response. In the end, he came up with a story that had more holes in it than a string vest. And Gammons, it appears, is the latest to be taken in by A-Fraud.