What A-Rod Should Have Said

I have now watched the replay of the press conference Alex Rodriguez and the New York Yankees staged yesterday in Tampa to address the revelation of his past steroids use and I’m still shaking my head in disbelief.  For all of the handlers surrounding A-Rod, you would have expected him to put on a stirring show of remorse and hopefully put the issue behind him. Instead, he created even more doubt in the minds of the 250+ media assembled and the American public watching live on television or viewing the replay like I did last night.

This is a crisis communications situation.  I don’t know for sure how A-Rod was prepped, but it certainly did not appear like it was done with any sense of the gravity of the situation.  Sure, his opening statements in which he revealed that an unamed cousin of his injected him with a substance he purchased over the counter in the Dominican Republic and referred to as Bole, was more than he revealed to ESPN’s Peter Gammons.  But to state on more than one occasion this occurred because he was young and stupid did nothing more than create doubt about what he put into his body and for how long.  The statement about his fearing for his career due to a neck injury was hard to believe as well.

A-Rod’s problem is that his insecurity has often led him to be misunderstood.  Now, it has set him on a path of being mistrusted.

If I had been advising A-Rod and preparing him for the press conference yesterday, here’s what I would have insisted his message points be:

§  I did have a performance enhanced drug injected into my body during the course of the 2001-2003 seasons while playing for the Texas Rangers

§  Despite what many in this room and throughout the country suspect, this was the only time I used performance enhanced drugs. I will gladly take a lie detector test to prove my case

§  I do not feel it necessary to reveal the source for how I received the drugs. I take full responsibility for purchasing and using them.  All I can say is that it was the same drug used all the time, purchased from a source in the Dominican Republic

§  After signing the richest contract in history following the 2000 season, I placed a lot of pressure on myself to perform up to the standards set by the contract.  I experimented with the performance enhanced drugs as a means to help my body recover and stay stronger as the season progressed

§  While I cannot say for sure how much of an assist this drug  gave me, if at all, I still felt the need to use them

§  I was informed by the Players Union’s Gene Orza about my potential failing of the drug test.  He said there may have been some false positives. I know I said I was in denial and really wasn’t sure I had actually failed it but let’s face it, I was lying to myself, the media and the fans

§   I stopped using the drugs at that point

§  With the testing in Major League Baseball in place and the promise that the results of the 2003 survey would remain anonymous, I did not think my use of performance enhanced drugs would ever be revealed 

§  That is why I categorically denied such use when asked by Katie Couric during the 60 Minutes interview she did with me.  It was wrong to lie. I purposely deceived her in order to maintain my reputation in the game. I have spoken to her and apologized

§  I have also apologized to Selena Roberts for the way I mischaracterized how she did her job in unveiling this story. She did everything right as a journalist and I behaved like a jerk

§  Now that my use of performance enhanced drugs is out, I know my reputation is forever tarnished

§  I cannot take back the past, as much as I would like to try to

§  All I can do now is continue playing the game using my God-given talent and skills

§  I have many more great years ahead of me.  When my career is over, I fully know that many will look at my career record and still feel doubtful because I cheated

§  The three years that I cheated the game and myself will be with me for life. I caused this and I will have to live with it

§  I apologize to Tom Hicks the owner of the Texas Rangers who committed to paying me the richest contract in baseball; I apologize to all of my teammates past and present; and most of all, I apologize to baseball fans around the country

§  I owe you my best on and off the field.  What I did was dangerous to my health and wrong. I hope to use the revelation of my use of performance enhanced drugs as a means to educate the youth of this country to the dangers of these drugs

§  Therefore, I have asked the New York Yankees to defer 10% of my yearly salary through the remainder of my contract to be placed in a special fund to be used to create an educational campaign against performance enhanced drugs. I will look to schedule speaking  appearances before youth groups  in every Major League city I travel to in order to spread this message and will work with the Commissioner and the Players Union to coordinate this effort

§  I will also fund the creation of a PSA and establish a separate health fund to assist those suffering from problems associated with the use of performance enhanced drugs

§  Sure, there were 103 other names on the list that haven’t come out.  It might be easy to sit here and say why me?  But to me, those names should stay anonymous.  What has happened to me is my own doing. Now it’s time for me to deal with the consequences

§  And now, I’m ready to take your questions     

Tom Cosentino

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