Alex Rodriguez hasn't made it easy on his detractors this season, at least not since he made out with himself for a photo shoot during Spring Training. The Yankees are winning, he's had some clutch hits and, most importantly, kept a low profile. The one expception has been his romance with Kate Hudson, but even that's been met with unusually positive coverage in the press than his previous dalliances with Madonna, muscular she-males and assorted other unsavory characters.
So it's not all that surprising that an article in the Baltimore Sun about A-Rod meeting with Maryland youngsters about the evils of steroids brought negative reaction from around the blogosphere. It's hard to argue with those who would call him a hypocrite for casting aspersions about steroid use when using them cost him nothing but a reputation that wasn't all that sterling in the first place.
It's true that the most effective speakers about substance abuse are those who lost everything as a result. Many of us have sat through high school assemblies where a wheelchair-bound man told us how he was paralyzed as the result of a drunk driving accident and it is truly powerful stuff.
What's important to note about Rodriguez's speeches is that the point doesn't have anything to do with redeeming his own image. If that were the case we'd see him on TV and in People magazine talking about steroids, and we would have known about his speeches to students before this week, because this isn't the first one he gave. It came out this time because the group that hosted the talk issued a press release and a transcript because the press wasn't allowed inside the event.
It's hard to see where this generates much outrage. If people are bothered by steroid use in baseball, isn't it better to approach it head on, as Rodriguez has done, than to pretend it never happened, as everyone else caught in the net has done? Hate him from using it, if you like, but it seems silly to also take the position that trying to stop others from doing it is a particularly self-serving act.
It would have been far more hypocritical of him to say that he was going to speak to kids about steroids when he was caught and then do nothing when the cameras were off. On this point, A-Rod's not deserving of scorn.