Alex Rodriguez, PEDs, and what it means to be a professional athlete.

Alex Rodriguez Suspended 214 games (image courtesy of sethcurrysavesduke.blogspot.com/ )

Alex Rodriguez Suspended 214 games (image courtesy of sethcurrysavesduke.blogspot.com/ )

In case you haven’t heard, Yankee slugger Alex Rodriguez was suspended today (along with 12 other Major League Baseball players) for using PEDs (Performance Enhancing Drugs).  Rodriguez received a 214-game suspension (some say 211 games, either way – it starts Thursday) while the other players received 50 games.  Why did Alex get more?  Because Major League Baseball feels that he’s been cheating far longer than everyone else.  Really?  Really.  The 12 other players have apologized, while Rodriguez is appealing his suspension.  Get this – HE’S ALLOWED TO PLAY DURING THE APPEAL.  How is this right!?  In fact, he’s in the lineup tonight in Chicago against the White Sox.

Here’s a little background on Mr Rodriguez… he has signed TWO of the most lucrative contracts the baseball (or any sport) has ever seen:  In 2000 his signature got him $252 million from the Texas Rangers… and in 2007 he signed a 10-year, $275 million contract with the New York Yankees.  This contract with the Yanks ALSO gives him around $30 million in bonuses based on his home run totals.  Oh, and he also gets $2 million and change every year from Nike, Rawlings, and other endorsement deals.  He makes more money than the entire Houston Astros roster.

Ok, enough about how much money the guy makes.  Using performance enhancing drugs is illegal in sports.  Hell, there are some people who think they should be legal in all sports just to make it even, and more exciting.  Major League Baseball thinks they’re doing all the right things in terms of the players who have tried to cheat the game and gotten caught.  Boy are they wrong.

Here’s what I wanted to get to in this article.  Everybody has an opinion on this, so here’s mine.  If you get caught ONCE using illegal substances (PEDs, steroids, whatever you want to call them), you’re done.  Finished.  For the rest of your life, in any aspect, period.  Your records are completely erased.  You can’t be an announcer.  You no longer have anything to do with the sport.  The fans pay your salary, and honestly, I think you should have to GIVE UP THE MONEY YOU MADE WHILE LYING TO THE ENTIRE WORLD so it can be put to good use (why is hunger still an issue anyway?).  Oh and by the way, this goes for any sport, not just baseball.  I don’t care if it’s the MLB, NFL, NHL, NBA, Tennis, Table Tennis, NASCAR, F1, Cycling, Boxing, MMA, or Underwater Basketweaving.  How else are these idiots going to get it through their heads?  You get caught using banned substances and your’e out.  ZERO tolerance.  That’s what needs to happen.

As a professional athlete, you need to understand that your actions are followed by a vast group of people.  In A-Rod’s case, MILLIONS of people.  You’re in the spotlight all the time.  Kids look up to you, they want to BE you, companies pay you to make them look better, to make the sport look better, teams pay you to produce, and all of this is based on being a superior athlete, and playing within the rules of your sport.  You’re a role model.  Act like one.

I’d love to hear your opinions on it… so let’s talk.

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