If you think corporate entities and organizations don’t take the reputations of sports icons seriously, consider the actions of the YES network with respect to embattled Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez. Since A-Rod admitted to having used anabolic steroids during his tenure with the Texas Rangers, YES has pulled its A-Rod-related programs – namely its “Yankeeography” of A-Rod and a “Yankees Classics” featuring Rodriguez.
The YES network is no different than any other company that wishes to preserve its reputation. It has chosen, for now at least, to keep A-Rod at a distance. Alex Rodriguez’s reputation has nosedived since Sports Illustrated published a story indicating that he was among 104 players who tested positive for anabolic steroids in 2003.
Major League Baseball conducted the survey test to determine if permanent random drug testing would need to be permanently implemented in the league.
Up until the Sports Illustrated story, Alex Rodriguez had denied ever using steroids. In an interview with Katie Couric on 60 minutes, he flatly denied it, in fact. One wonders if he fessed up only because he got caught.
The actions of the YES network are similar to that of Kellogg’s, who withdrew Michael Phelps’ sponsorship contract after the Olympic swimming phenom admitted to smoking pot (a photo of him taking a huge drag off a bong pipe went viral on the web). YES and Kellogg’s understand that a high-profile athlete – whether he likes it or not – is a role model to young kids. And while for some, the morality – or lack thereof – of smoking marijuana is debatable, no one in their right mind can condone the use of anabolic steroids, which give a player an unfair playing advantage. Using steroids, is, simply put, cheating (and they pose a number of serious health risks as well, including heart attacks, strokes and cancer).
Alex Rodriguez is now in the process of trying to rehabilitate his damaged reputation (to that end, he held a news conference today; the YES network is one of many channels that broadcast it).
It’s going to take some doing, though, because he has seriously disappointed legions of his fans, who thought they could count on him to legitimately replace Barry Bonds as MLB’s home run king. Barry Bonds, who now holds the all-time home run record, is widely suspected of having used steroids; as a result, some feel his home run record is tainted, and that an asterisk indicating this status belongs alongside his name in the record books.
YES pulls the Plug, temporarily, on a Yankees star, Richard Sandomir, February 16, 2009
Alex Rodriguez Had Positive Steroid Positive Steroid Test in 2003, Sports Illustrated Reports, Hartey Engel, Associated Content, February 7, 2009
Steroids in sport? It’s called chitting! Simple as that – and I was always p***ed off when my beloved sports hero turned out to be a doper!