Monday, February 09, 2009

Name the Names: UPDATE: A-Rod Admits Steroid Usage

I want names. All of them. Let's see who else was taking steroids according to a report from 2003 when more than 100 players were found to be taking steroids.

Only one name was leaked over the weekend.

That was Alex Rodriguez. He was singled out from more than 100 players. Even if all the other players were named, his would still be the marquee face on the latest revelations from baseball, because he is the most recognized player and was seen as the one clean player with the best chance of breaking Barry Bonds home run records.

No longer.

Name the names
“I’d be all for the 104 positives being named, and the game moving on if that is at all possible,” former Boston ace Curt Schilling wrote on his blog Sunday.

“In my opinion, if you don’t do that, then the other 600-700 players are going to be guilty by association, forever,” he wrote. “It appears that not only was it 104, but three of the greatest of our, or any, generation appear to be on top of this list.”

Rodriguez joined Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens on an ever-growing list of stars tainted by the Steroids Era scandal. Sports Illustrated reported Saturday the Yankees slugger, already dubbed “A-Roid” in the tabloids, tested positive for two steroids in 2003.

Rodriguez, the players’ union and Major League Baseball were mum Sunday.

“Alex has been out of the country. I expect him back later today and want to confer with my client before saying anything,” agent Scott Boras said.

Meanwhile, one recently retired player wanted to know how Rodriguez’s name got out. Sean Casey, who spent last season with the Red Sox, said he felt violated by the leak.

“A little bit, because it was supposed to be a survey test and those results were supposed to be confidential,” he said. “The only reason we opened up the collective bargaining agreement was on those terms.”
MLB has brought this disaster upon itself because it failed to address the steroid issue for far too long and the players union decided that it was better to protect those players who were juicing than to honor those players who were doing it without any enhancements.

If I were a clean player in baseball, I'd want to see all the names, because it would put my own numbers and statistics into its proper perspective.

How many A-Rod home runs can be attributed to steroids? What about the MVP awards? How much money was thrown at him for his superhuman statistics as a result of steroid enhancement?

Baseball owes its customers not only an explanation, but an apology.

It starts with naming names - and for the players union to allow its release - for the good of the game.

A-Rod admits to having taken steroids before becoming a New York Yankee.
“When I arrived at Texas in 2001 I felt an enormous amount of pressure to perform, and perform at a high level every day,” Rodriguez told Peter Gammons. “I was young. I was stupid. I was naïve. And I wanted to prove to everyone that I was worth being one of the greatest players of all time. I did take a banned substance, and for that I am very sorry and deeply regretful.”

The acknowledgment by Rodriguez came two days after Sports Illustrated’s Web site,, reported that Rodriguez had tested positive for steroids in 2003, when he was in his last season with the Texas Rangers and won the first of his three Most Valuable Player awards.

The next season, Rodriguez joined the Yankees. He is now the highest paid player in baseball and widely viewed as the most talented.

Rodriguez said he did not know exactly what substances he took, but that he hadn’t taken substances since 2003.

“I am guilty of being negligent, naïve, not asking all the right questions,” Rodriguez, the Yankees’ third baseman, said.
Nonsense. He wasn't negligent or naive. He knew that other players were taking it to get an edge in performance, whether it was to improve conditioning or to increase strength to hit home runs or both. He can just claim as much now, but he lied to the public when he gave interviews in the past few years that he had not taken steroids or other performance enhancing drugs.

Once he sets about lying, it becomes difficult to trust anything he says, including that he stopped using performance enhancing drugs after joining the Yankees.

And you know who deserves yet another apology? Jose Canseco, who repeatedly stated that Rodriguez was taking steroids. He was brushed off as peddling a book or lying about how Rodriguez was hitting on Canseco's wife, to say nothing of his broad claims about how many baseball players were juiced. He was right again.

Anyone care to weigh in on whether HIPAA privacy laws may affect the release of the names or whether there was a violation of Rodriguez's rights? Based on the HIPAA website, it wouldn't appear that there are any privacy concerns as the baseball union isn't a covered entity.

The current terms and conditions of the MLB drug policy does set forth certain conditions for release of certain private information. However, it is not necessarily relevant here as the positive drug tests occurred prior to the implementation of the MLB test regime.

Part of the way that the test results became public was that the union failed to destroy the list showing who tested positive in a timely fashion as per the union agreement with MLB; the federal investigation into BALCO short circuited the process and the union had tried to fight the implementation of the tests altogether by claiming false-positives to bring the percentage of those players taking steroids and performance enhancers under the threshold required by the MLB to test all players. CNNSI has more on that facet.

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