Some jaded New York sports fans say they are disappointed, but not shocked at a report that Yankees star Alex Rodriguez tested positive for steroids six years ago.
“Find me a guy who didn't test positive for steroids in 2003,''
Yankees fan David Rivera scoffed as he stood on the sidewalk Saturday outside Madison Square Garden.
Sports Illustrated reported on its Web site Saturday that Rodriguez was among 104 baseball players who tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs during a survey conducted to determine whether the major leagues needed random drug testing.
The infielder was a Texas Ranger at the time. He won the MVP award that year, then was traded in 2004 to New York, where he makes a major league-high $27 million-a-year salary.
Support for him among fans was muted as news of the steroid allegations broke. A few fans said they thought the allegations could be false or didn't matter, given the reports of steroid use that have proven a nagging issue in baseball.
“I really feel that A-Rod is not getting a fair deal,'' said Jeffrey Harris.
The city has always been split on Rodriguez. Fans here love it when the star slugger does well, but he has never been as popular as some of his teammates, especially shortstop Derek Jeter.
Rodriguez is often a subject of scorn for his salary, personal life -- he and his wife divorced in September -- and failure to win a World Series title.
Fan Arthur Benjamin said he would continue to “stand behind'' Rodriguez as a Yankee, but Benjamin said high-paid athletes owe it to their fans to conduct themselves honorably, especially when it comes to steroids.
“Some things you shouldn't be doing, and that's one of them,'' Benjamin said.
Philadelphia Phillies fan George Keckler said as he left Pennsylvania Station that he thought Rodriguez was “cheating'' if the steroid allegations proved true. But Keckler added that he would rather not know when athletes violate the rules and still considered the third baseman a great player.
True shock or outrage over the allegations was harder to find -- a testament perhaps to the city's ambivalent attitude about its highest-paid sports star.
“Nothing really surprises me anymore with athletes and steroids,'' explained fan Ryan Gale. Still, he added, “I'm glad it was him, and they aren't talking about Jeter.''