Readers of my A-Rod column may have concluded that the piece was a bit convoluted and long-winded in its response to Rich’s take on the matter.
In truth, it was nearly worse: I ultimately elected not to respond to one point Rich made about a possible A-Rod betrayal, since I thought that it would distract from my larger message that the third baseman, while certainly no role model for children, was hardly “the disgrace of the Yankees.”
Here was the sentence in question:
He did events for the Taylor Hooton Foundation, named in honor of a 17-year-old who had abused steroids and taken his own life.
On reading this, I tried to recall what former big-league relief pitcher (and friend of NRO) Bob Tufts had to say about the charitable organization and about the father of Taylor, who runs it. After a couple of clicks via Google, I found these observations, in a Baseball Think Factory thread from just over a year ago, in response to the creation of a Cooperstown anti-steroids exhibit:
Partnering with the Taylor Hooton Foundation is a laugh. I feel for the man, but his son died due to issues with lexapro – not steroids. His foundation is passing the buck and blaming others for his son’s actions. His group and the HOF should have done a program telling about the dangers of lexapro and adderall, but I guess I have to wait until Mike Bloomberg decides to become the HOF’s nanny-in-chief.
Having attended a few post-game activities and post-career activities with George Brett, I can safely say that advising people to emulate his behavior is way off base. Chalres Barkley was right in the “I am not a role model!” ad
Most of us probably agree that, should A-Rod ultimately acknowledge using PEDs while on board with the foundation, he owes the children who heard his lectures a big-time apology.
As New York Post columnist Ken Davidoff points out:
For crying out loud, though, it requires a special brand of gall — of denial? — to speak to youngsters about not using illegal PEDs as you are still using illegal PEDs. That may very well have been the case for A-Rod, who is fighting his 211-game suspension from Major League Baseball that alleges the 38-year-old cheated “over the course of multiple years.” Hooton and A-Rod joined forces following Rodriguez’s 2009 confession of his earlier illegal PED involvement, and A-Rod spoke at many schools about his experiences and his “change.”
To lie to adults requires complicity on the recipient’s part; as Homer Simpson once said, “It takes two to lie. One to lie and one to listen.” To lie to impressionable students, however, is pretty low.
However, Bob’s points are worth digesting. In our crusade to protect kids from steroids, are we letting other, more dangerous drugs off the hook? And is a contribution to the Taylor Hooton Foundation money well donated?