It really is a shame — Alex Rodriguez just does not seem to get it.
Alex certainly provided information and owned up to his mistakes, and he deserves credit for that.
What he did not do is use yet another opportunity to change an image and reputation that has been badly damaged.
Let’s start with the opening statement, which A-Rod chose to read directly from a piece of paper. Why, why, why? He should have been speaking from the heart, maybe having a few bullet points jotted down, but certainly not reading a prepared statement before 200 reporters!
Everything you do sends a message, and A-Rod, the message you needed to send today was one of sincerity and genuine remorse. Reading from a prepared statement (that you are actually holding up), prior to a pre-planned press conference, does not exactly scream sincerity.
I am not sure how many times Alex used the words young, stupid and curious, however I am fairly certain that if he does not hold that record, he is very, very close (For the record, staying on message DOES NOT mean repeating the same words over and over and over again).
Alex was clearly trying to convey that he was remorseful, and did accept responsibility; however he once again failed to see the forest through the trees. With a crowd of reporters resembling that of a Presidential news conference, A-Rod could have made a major statement, and the best he mustered was to work on educating young players on the evils of steroids.
Joel Sherman really exposed a nerve when he asked Alex why he would take a substance an average of twice a month for three years, or 36 times total, but did not really know what it did, or if it had any positive effect. The look Alex gave was angry, not remorseful, and the answer was evasive at best.
In fact, the vast majority of answers were either evasive, defensive or overly-scripted. The only unscripted moment was Alex apparently choking up before addressing his teammates – his best moment of the entire press conference.
This is not about what Alex has done in the past, but more how he dealt with it, and if he chose to use it as an opportunity to really speak to his fans, rather than just reporters, and he did not do that. What could A-Rod have said? For regular readers, I apologize for this “groundhog day” moment:
“I made a very dumb decision. I then lied about that decision not only to reporters and fans, but to myself as well. I am ashamed of my behavior, and I apologize to my fans, my employers and the game of baseball. I have not used steroids since 2003, have passed xx drug tests since then, and will be happy to submit to weekly drug tests, at my own expense, if that helps to reassure my fans.”
“I want to speak to my most important fans, the young fans. I realize I am a role model, that many of you look up to me, that many of you want to play professional baseball and one day play for a great organization like I do. I let you down. I let you down, and nothing bothers me more that that. Nothing. There is nothing more important in this world than being honest, and I wasn’t, and for that I am so so sorry.”
“ The money, cars, records, Hall of Fame, none of it is as important to me as making those who put their faith in me proud. I promise I will work everyday to regain your trust and to be a player you can be proud of….”
A-Rod, you still have center stage. Make the most of it — send a new message.