Six Lingering Questions In the A-Rod Matter
1. How is Rodriguez going to respond? I see three realistic choices:
a) The "legal matter" no-comment. ("Because this matter is the subject of an ongoing legal process, I have been advised not to comment on it. I hope one day soon to be able to give my side of the story.")
b) The half-hearted apology. ("I cannot explain how these substances got into my system, but I assure you I never knowingly took steroids. I was a heavy user of legal supplements earlier in my career, and it is possible I inadvertently ingested something that may have triggered a positive test. However, I also understand I am ultimately responsible for anything that goes into my body, and thus I take full responsibility and apologize to the New York Yankees, the Texas Rangers, Major League Baseball and my fans for this embarrassing incident and the distractions it has caused.")
c) The "one-time mistake"/martyr explanation. ("During the 2003 season, while battling various nagging injuries that I feared would force me to the disabled list, I used an illegal substance. My motivation was simple: I wanted to stay on the field for the sake of my team and my teammates. I want to stress I did this only once, and I immediately regretted it. I apologize to [see above].")
2. Does it even matter in the big picture? I think the answer to this is no. He is in no legal jeopardy. His legacy, given the patterns of Hall of Fame voting for steroids-stained players, is probably beyond repair. None of that is likely to change based on what he says. The only thing that could be affected is the way Rodriguez is treated by fans, both at home and on the road. A heartfelt apology could help him in that regard.
3. Why were the 2003 survey testing results not destroyed? Here is the relevant clause, straight out of the 2003-2006 collective bargaining agreement: "At the conclusion of any Survey Test, and after the results of all tests have been calculated, all test results, including any identifying characteristics, will be destroyed in a process jointly supervised by the Office of the Commissioner and the [Players'] Association." There are at least 104 people, including Rodriguez, who deserve an answer.
4. Who leaked, and will the judge go after them? Remember, the longest prison sentence in the entire BALCO case was not for Victor Conte or Greg Anderson. It was the 30-month sentence handed to Troy Ellerman, the former Conte attorney who leaked grand jury testimony to the San Francisco Chronicle.
5. Does Sports Illustrated have the other 103 names? Just because the two reporters who broke the Rodriguez story mentioned only him doesn't mean they don't have the entire list. In this highly competitive media environment, in order to maximize the impact of your scoop, you'd want to drop the biggest name first, and hold back the rest until a later date when the impact would be greatest.
6. Is Roger Clemens on that list? Given his perilous legal situation, he had better hope not.
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