- Terence Moore: As he faces suspension, A-Rod plays martyr besieged by forces out to get him
- He says don't buy it. It's denial common to fallen sports stars, from Pete Rose to Armstrong
- He says in Liars Hall of Fame, first come accusations, then denial, and confession. Why?
- Moore: Lying sports stars can't accept fall; think if they repeat lie enough, it'll be true. Don't buy it
Whenever Alex Rodriguez — or his DMs (designated mouthpieces) -- discuss the evil ways of his haters these days, it sounds believable. To hear the DMs for the man they call "A-Rod" tell it, Rodriguez's bosses on the New York Yankees are out to get him, and the same goes for the entire establishment of Major League Baseball. I mean, Team A-Rod would swear on a stack of trading cards that the world is forcing this guy to struggle up a hill with a cross made of old Louisville Sluggers.
I'm not buying any of this, by the way, and neither should you. It doesn't matter that the tongues for those on Team A-Rod are as smooth as Rodriguez's hitting once was while he was evolving into the most prolific slugger of his time, before a five-year slide to ordinary or less.
Denial, denial, denial. Not about Rodriguez's likely use of performance-enhancing drugs within the last few years (he has admitted that he used them when he played for the Texas Rangers from 2001-2003). Team A-Rod has moved around that subject on its tippy toes. They mostly issue denials that Rodriguez isn't into misleading baseball officials, the Yankees, his teammates, fans and even his absolutely pristine self about anything at any time.
Just thinking ...
Haven't we seen this middle part of a three-station cycle before from Ryan Braun, Lance Armstrong, Rafael Palmeiro, Marion Jones, Pete Rose, Mark McGwire and Michael Vick? Yes, we have, and these figures are among those in the ever-expanding Liars Hall of Fame. For induction, you must ace the ability to move quickly from The Accusations to The Denial, and before you reach The Confession, you must challenge the world record of politicians for denying and denying some more.
"I did not bet on baseball."
"Everybody wants to know what I am on. What am I on? I'm on my bike busting my (butt) six hours a day. What are you on?"
"Let me start by telling you this: I have never used steroids, period. I don't know how to say it any more clearly than that. Never."
"I take these charges very seriously and look forward to clearing my good name."
If you're keeping score, the authors of those previous whoppers were Rose, Jones, Armstrong, Palmeiro (as he wagged his finger at a U.S. congressman on Capitol Hill), Braun and Vick.
What's up with this?
"Athletes get hooked on notoriety and fame. I mean, when is the last time they had to buy a meal or a drink?" said Patrick Devine, who spent years as a sports psychologist for the Atlanta Braves before returning to private practice. He also serves as a professor at Kennesaw State University in Georgia. Added Devine, "They think everybody loves them, because there are so many people looking at them as their heroes.
"So, athletes start to think that, because of their great deeds and because of the championships they may have won, the public in the end is going to forgive them for whatever they decide to do."
That's why, after The Accusations and The Denial, members of the Liars Hall of Fame don't bother with The Confession until evidence surfaces to confirm their guilt beyond a shadow of a doubt. Then they throw themselves to the mercy of their fans, but only after they have slashed and burned a bunch of innocent folks along the way.
As a result, this Rodriguez thing is about to get creepier, because it feels so much like everything I just wrote.
There is Major League Baseball claiming Rodriguez joined 12 other players in purchasing and using performance-enhancing drugs from a clinic in south Florida called Biogenesis. According to reports, those same baseball officials say Rodriguez tried to hinder their investigation by lying and by encouraging others to do the same. There also are reports from CBS's 60 Minutes that Rodriguez used some of his associates to squeal on other drug-using players in an attempt to cover his pinstripes. Rodriguez denies this.
Which brings us to this: Follow the money. The New York Times reported this week that Rodriguez has retained at least six law firms and two public relations firms. Among other things, the paper said those A-Rod entities are trying to prove the Yankees and Major League Baseball are trying to take away as much of what remains of Rodriguez's original $275 million contract as possible.
Baseball officials had slapped Rodriguez with a 211-game suspension that would keep the 38-year-old third baseman out of the game until after the start of the 2015 season. He appealed the decision, and it will be months before the results are known. If the suspension is upheld, Rodriguez will lose approximately $34 million of his salary.
Until then, when it's raining, we'll have Rodriguez telling us the sunshine is beating against his shades.
"It's the same thing as somebody suffering from alcoholism. Denial," Devine said. "Now, in the case of some of the people we're talking about, they just look at everything (PED use, conniving, lying) as simply, 'This is what I have to do to compete at the highest level,' and in their mind -- morally and ethically -- it's not wrong. It's also like, 'If I do get caught, what's going to happen to me?' I mean, we're eventually going to put Pete Rose in the Hall of Fame, and that sort of thing allows athletes to go into this denial thing along the way to being so convincing.
"To them, it's really like that old kid's line you hear: If you start telling a lie long enough, you start to believe it."
Yeah, but the rest of us don't have to believe it.
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