The last time we heard this much about A-Rod, he was seen coming and going with hot mama Madonna. Their alleged romance led up to his divorce, and a lousy season with the Yankees. But that's so yesterday's news. Sex has been left far afield in favor of drugs--those nasty but all-too-common substances athletes take to boost their performance--and the lies meant to maintain his superstar profile. So now Alex Rodriguez has a lot more to worry about than Jesus Luz, the newest, and youngest, man on Madonna's arm.
For someone who is so concerned about his public image and his legacy in the game of baseball, A-Rod's been having a really hard time. His former manager, Joe Torre, dubbed him "A-Fraud" in his recent book, The Yankee Years, and squarely put Alex in the "out for himself" column as opposed to the "team player" category. And despite the fact that there were 103 players who tested positive for steroid use in the 2003 supposedly confidential test, only A-Rod's name has been outed by a variety of sources.
So what did he do about it? After having lied straight out to Katie Couric on "Sixty Minutes" - no, not him, he never did the nasty - he and his image consultants are now coming out with some version of "the truth." As the author of a book called Truth Heals, I have a built-in lie detector that tells me A-Rod is merely trying to project a contrite-enough image to save his legacy. His body language both on and off the field shouts "look at me, I'm the person you want me to be," and here he's doing the same thing - it's all a pose.
There's no way that the 28-year-old athlete (as he was in 2003), at a prime age for athletic prowess, was really as young and stupid and naïve as 21-year-old Michael Phelps taking a hit off a bong at a party. How could a shining star on the diamond not know what he'd been putting into his body?
He tried the clasic move of shifting blame by claiming to have been a victim of the "loosey-goosey" 'roid culture at the time. Didn't he see what happened to Marion Jones, Mark McGwire, and Floyd Landis? Didn't he think he too could be stripped of his accolades, or was he too much of a narcissist to believe he'd ever be caught? Or did he believe that no one would care since "juicing" was so common? He even tried to deflect by trashing the reporter who broke the story.
The culture that actually did influence him is the present day emphasis on image, which trumps reality--big time. In the days when even "reality" shows are scripted, and when a woman in the spotlight is pounded for being fat when she wears more than a size 2, an athlete using drug enhancement is not much different than an actor using drugs and surgery to look younger--both see it as necessary for top job performance, and payment.
But if A-Rod thinks that talking about honesty is the same as being truthful, his "remorse" is still nothing more than a desperate play to win back the love of his fans - and keep that
$270 million dollar paycheck. Does he really expect us to believe he stopped cold turkey in 2003 and hasn't replaced steroids with human growth hormone?
Now if only A-Rod would listen to himself when he says, "...you realize that honesty is the only way." It's the lies we tell ourselves that are the most damaging to our health and our happiness in the long run. And he still doesn't get that image and legacy are no replacement for integrity and inner peace.