Commentary: A-Rod's a disappointment

This editorial appeared in The (Tacoma) News Tribune.

It's hard at this point to generate much outrage over Alex Rodriguez's confession that he used performance-enhancing drugs. The reaction is more one of sadness and disappointment that the former Seattle Mariner shortstop who once seemed to have the world on a string no longer seems destined for Cooperstown – not with that enormous asterisk now attached to his name.

By now most sports fans have grown only too accustomed to discovering their heroes' feet of clay. Rodriguez, who plays for the New York Yankees, is just the latest in a long list of star athletes whose accomplishments have been tarnished after they were found to have been juiced – or at least suspected of it. That list includes Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Jason Giambi, Andy Pettitte, Rafael Palmeiro, Marion Jones and Floyd Landis.

Unlike athletes who continue to swear they never used drugs, Rodriguez has come clean – to a point – but only when it became clear there was no point in denying it. Sports Illustrated reported that he was one of 104 Major League Baseball players who had tested positive for steroids in 2003, when he was a Texas Ranger. He had earlier denied using drugs in a 2007 interview with Katie Couric.

In his admission this week on ESPN, he said he had no excuses for why he tested positive for banned substances – but then came up with several. The lamest: that drug use was pervasive among players.

The old "everyone's doing it" excuse? He's got it exactly backwards. Any athlete who uses creates pressure on his competitors to do the same.

To read the complete editorial, visit The (Tacoma) News Tribune.