On Feb. 7, Sports Illustrated's Selena Roberts reported that A-Rod tested positive for steroids in 2003. By any account, it was one of the biggest sports scoops in recent history.
A confession from A-Rod followed, along with a book deal for Roberts.
THEY BUILD HER UP
Selena Roberts is a "top-flight reporter," says SI's Jeff Pearlman. (Feb. 10)
Roberts is "universally respected," agrees ESPN's Jayson Stark. (Feb. 17)
She is a "reporter who has conducted herself with nothing but class her entire career," says the NY Daily News' Mark Feinsand. (Feb. 17)
"I am friendly with Selena and consider her an excellent reporter," writes Joel Sherman of the NY Post. "I have no doubt she was tireless and diligent in this reporting, and - therefore - I suspect that what is in this book is accurate." (April 30)
THEY TEAR HER DOWN
Jason Whitlock of the Kansas City Star writes on May 2:
Not long ago, sports writer Selena Roberts compared the Duke lacrosse players to gang members and career criminals.
She claimed that the players' unwillingness to confess to or snitch about a rape (that did not happen) was the equivalent of drug dealers and gang members promoting antisnitching campaigns.
When since-disgraced district attorney Mike Nifong whipped up a media posse to rain justice on the drunken, male college students, Roberts jumped on the fastest, most influential horse, using her New York Times column to convict the players and the culture of privilege that created them.
Proven inaccurate, Roberts never wrote a retraction for the columns that contributed to the public lynching of Reade Seligmann, Colin Finnerty and David Evans.
Instead, she moved on to Sports Illustrated, a seat on ESPN's "The Sports Reporters" and a new target, baseball slugger Alex Rodriguez...
Roberts' book [about A-Rod] is a long-winded blog. Why it's being treated as an unimpeachable piece of journalism can only be explained by the cushy position she's been handed by the New York Times, ESPN and Sports Illustrated and the unchallenged institutional bias found within the elite sports media institutions.
Steve Politi of the Star-Ledger writes on May 4:
A-Rod Fatigue has spread much faster and claimed more victims than the swine flu around here, and as a result, the public outcry has shifted.
Two months ago, when Rodriguez made his lame confession about steroid use, he was the one who took the shots. Monday, it was the author of the book, Sports Illustrated writer Selena Roberts, who was getting grilled on WFAN, her motives questioned.
Co-host Craig Carton even asked Roberts if she was trying to "bring down" Rodriguez, perhaps forgetting that it was the ballplayer, not the author, who used illegal steroids and lied about it.
Kyle Munzenrieder of the Miami New Times writes on May 4:
Oh, Selena Roberts. The Sports Illustrated writer unleashed the biggest sports story of the year by revealing Alex Rodriguez had tested positive for steroid use during his Major League Baseball career. And then, to quickly capitalize, she wrote a book, A-Rod: The Many Lives of Alex Rodriguez.
Deadspin's AJ Daulerio writes on May 4:
Unlike the other journalists and bloggers picking at Roberts, Munzenrieder actually does have a personal problem with her. You see, Munzenrieder was the heroic blogger who introduced the world to the infamous "7th Floor Crew" back in 2005. Roberts, still untarnished by the lure of gossip-heavy journalism at that point, harshly criticized Kyle and "college sports' growing Internet paparazzi" in a column for the NY Times.
Here's the lede paragraph from that piece:
"FORGIVE the Miami student blogger named Kyle, as his eyelids are as heavy as a convertible's ragtop. Controversy creationism is exhausting."
It's somewhat ironic that Roberts is being accused of the same "controversy creationism" that she was so appalled by back in 2005. No word on how heavy her eyelids are at this point into her whirlwind media tour.