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Before Criticizing Alex Rodriguez, Ask Yourself, “What Would You Do”

August 9th, 2013 at 12:06 AM
By David Batson

New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez has announced that he will vigorously appeal the 211 day suspension handed down to him yesterday by Major League Baseball in wake of the Biogenesis scandal. Upon the news of the appeal the baseball world became incensed. Who does this arrogant, cheating athlete think he is? But before anyone lashes out at him and his transgressions, ask yourself, “What would you do?”

'Alex Rodriguez' photo (c) 2008, Keith Allison - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Oh, it is easy to sit here and say that you would do the right thing and never cheat or use illegal substances. Or that, if you were guilty, that you would admit to it like a man and accept your punishment. How nice life would be if it was only that simple.

People cheat for a myriad of reasons. Success, money, fame, and power are just a few of the reasons. In the ultra-competitive world of professional sports, athletes are steadily seeking advantages. Advantages equal millions of dollars. Cheating is an advantage.

Sometimes traditional methods that lead to success such as talent and hard work are not enough. Condoning becoming a cheater is not what this article is about and there are certainly other ways to gain advantages. But in a time-sensitive world that prefers shortcuts, cheating becomes a prominent choice. Increased competition, injuries, and contract incentives, among other justifications, can alter a player’s perspective when it comes to performance enhancing drugs.

If you are an athlete facing a setback on the field or the possibility of losing your job, the temptation can be too hard to resist. It is entirely possible that a minor advantage can be the difference between success and failure. Minor leagues and major leagues. Superstar or journeyman. Millions of dollars and everyday jobs.

So why is Rodriguez the target for the most hatred? After all, he is not the only player to cheat by using performance enhancing drugs. The answer is simple. Rodriguez is the biggest superstar to find himself embroiled in the Biogenesis controversy.

'Nelson Cruz' photo (c) 2012, Keith Allison - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/Although some of the other names, such as Ryan Braun, Nelson Cruz, and Jhonny Peralta are certainly bona fide major league ballplayers, Rodriguez is a superstar. His 647 career home runs are enough to make him a first ballot hall of famer. He was a number one draft pick out of high school, a 14 time All-Star, and a three-time MVP.

Although he has faltered during the playoffs and his past four years have been average, even mediocre, his prowess on the field has never been in question. The general dislike for Rodriguez stems primarily from the fact that he often appears aloof, arrogant, and enjoys the rock star lifestyle. In other words, he is easy to hate. 

The other part of the equation is financial. Rodriguez, judging by nearly two decades worth of contracts, already has millions. So the question remains, why won’t he admit his wrongdoing, accept his punishment, and move forward?

It appears to be a foregone conclusion to everyone that he used PEDs.  Is his reluctance due to his arrogance and feeling of invincibility? Is he just trying to save face? Or is he trying to protect the millions of dollars he stands to lose if his suspension is upheld?

For one, Rodriguez is already the most hated guy in the room. Vilified and booed at every sporting event and news conference he attends and criticized in most articles written about him. So why should he plead guilty. He has said that he will offer his side of the story when the timing is right. Only he knows the real truth. But it seems that the general public will not rest until he is buried under the jail. 

There is seemingly no doubt that ARod works hard. In fact, his teammates in the past have attested to this fact. And his talent level leaves no room for argument. No one knows why Rodriguez used PEDs or if he indeed did use them.

If so, he deserves to be punished to the fullest allowable extent. He knew the rules, he knew whether or not he was breaking the rules, so he will have to live with that knowledge. If Rodriguez is guilty he needs to promptly admit his wrongdoing and put this issue to bed for his fans, his teammates, and the future of Major League Baseball

The purpose of this article is not to support Alex Rodriguez or anyone else. The purpose of this article is not to support cheaters. The purpose of this article is to ask you to put yourself in the shoes of Rodriguez and the other players who were suspended.

What is at stake here is not a cost of living wage increase at work or a promotion into management. We are talking about financial freedom and security for individuals and their families for the rest of their lives. And so again the question is raised, “What would you do? “ 

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Tags: Alex Rodriguez, ARod, Atlanta, Atlanta Braves, Baseball, Biogenesis, cheating, MLB, Nelson Cruz, New York Yankees, Ryan Braun

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