Monday, February 9, 2009

The truth, and nothing but the truth

Here's some unsolicited advice for Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, who was reported over the weekend to have tested positive for steroids in 2003 while with the Rangers.

Tell the truth, come clean, don't stonewall, don't "misremember." Mea culpa. It's the best way.

The testing was part of an agreement between Major League Baseball and the players union to determine the amount of steroid usage in the game. At that time, steroid use was not illegal. The names were supposed to be anonymous and confidential. Maybe that's why A-Rod told "60 Minutes" the next year that he'd never used steriods. Oops.

Now it was reported he was among 103 who tested positive. A-Rod, who one day will be the game's all-time home run leader, is by far the biggest name.

So, when spring training begins later this month, A-Rod should hold a press conference and tell all he knows. Don't do what Rafael Palmeiro did and lie to Congress. Don't clam up like Mark McGwire. Don't "misremember" like Roger Clemens, or be in a constant state of denial like Barry Bonds.

Do what teammate Andy Pettite did. Own up and fess up. It won't make it easy with the American public, but it will make it easier and the story will eventually go away. Richard Nixon and Pete Rose never learned that, that admitting mistakes, no matter how big, is a heckuva lot better than to shovel one lie on top of another. Rose would be in the Hall of Fame by now if he would have admitted he bet on baseball when allegations first came out. Instead he went 15-plus years of lying.

America is a pretty forgiving country. But we don't appreciate it when we're being lied to. A-Rod would do himself a huge favor by telling all he knows and then going on.

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