Let me get back to a question I asked the other day about the latest steroids scandal: Why Alex Rodriguez? Why only him? What was the motive for releasing his name and his alone when there are 103 other players who also allegedly failed the test for steroids. Why weren’t other names leaked? Something is clearly wrong here. As a former journalist and current journalism instructor, I’m hard-pressed to criticize Selena Roberts and Sports Illustrated for reporting this juicy exclusive leak. This is what reporters do – report. But I have to wonder does Ms. Roberts know some of the other names? And if not, did she question why leakers only gave her the name of a single, albeit superstar, player? Keep in mind there were three other sources who corroborated the exclusive leak. Did Sports Illustrated even consider the implicit unfairness of it’s explosive tip? Did the magazine care about the ramifications?
For now, and I say this carefully, because I absolutely don’t know for sure, it appears that Alex Rodriguez’ name was probably leaked by someone connected to the Federal prosecution of the BALCO case. Only Sports Illustrated knows exactly where this leak came from. And the magazine is not obligated to reveal it’s sources. But we should ask: what’s really going on in this now years old investigation that would cause someone to leak the name of Alex Rodriguez? Did the government try to pressure A-Rod into revealing what he knows about steroids and then toss his reputation to the wind when he didn’t cooperate? Are pressure tactics being applied to other players on the list? Yes, I’m speculating, but the motives behind A-Rod’s outing need to be discussed and examined.
The egregious way in which the Feds have pursued the BALCO case and Barry Bonds in particular has clearly sullied its investigation of steroids in sports. The Feds have recklessly pursued players like Bonds in its quest for headlines, when if they really cared should be going after the creators and distributors of these illegal performance enhancing drugs. The way I see it, traffickers are getting a relative pass and high profile athletes are getting embarrassed and in some cases prosecuted. Again, I am absolutely not excusing the actions of drug cheating athletes, but if we only look at Alex Rodriguez and his forced admission of steroid use and his now tarnished reputation, we are probably missing the big picture – and the real story.