Alex Rodriguez was widely criticized for leaving some questions about his performance-enhancing drug use unanswered during his interview with ESPN’s Peter Gammons last Monday. The Yankees third baseman filled in the vast majority of the blanks at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Fla., Tuesday afternoon during a straightforward, at times emotional press conference before 150 to 200 reporters and a TV audience of millions.
A-Rod revealed that he and his cousin obtained in the Dominican Republic a substance known on the streets as “boli” and injected each other twice a month over six-month periods in 2001, 2002 and 2003. He said the substance was intended to provide an “energy boost” and said he wasn’t sure how much it helped his performance. He referred to his actions as a “stupid mistake” and reiterated his claims of ignorance and naivety. “We consulted no one. It was pretty evident that we didn’t know what we were doing,” he said, further characterizing the experience as “amateur hour.”
With teammates Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte - who himself had a press conference last spring to come clean about past performance-enhancing drug use - sitting in the front row, A-Rod began by reading a prepared statement that expounded upon what he told Gammons last Monday. As he finished reading the statement and prepared to address his teammates, he was overcome by emotion and paused for more than half a minute before gathering himself and thanking them for their support.
During the question-and-answer portion of the press conference, A-Rod - who tested positive for testosterone and Primobolan during Major League Baseball’s survey testing of 2003 - said he had never used human growth hormone. When asked about amphetamine use, he admitted to using a product called “Ripped Fuel,” which was legal at the time and available at supplement stores like GNC, but has since been added to baseball’s banned substances list.
A-Rod succeeded in clearing up many, if not all, of the questions that remained after his interview with Gammons. It’s understandable that he wouldn’t want to implicate a family member, explaining his initial evasiveness about where he obtained the banned substance. And while A-Rod admitted that he knew he had his cousin “weren’t taking Tic-Tacs,” it appears that while he knew he was taking some kind of performance-enhancing drug, he wasn’t particularly knowledgeable about it. This is also understandable, as he knew that what he was doing was wrong and didn’t want more people knowing than was necessary.
A-Rod indicated that he felt he had properly addressed the performance-enhancing drug questions and now wants to turn his focus toward the upcoming season. “I’ve made mistakes in life, and all I can do is learn from them and move forward,” he said. Only time will tell how history will judge A-Rod, but his admission and apology were without question steps in the right direction.
Jay LeBlanc is an assistant news editor at The Washington Times. He can be reached at email@example.com.