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Deleted Scene from Monday’s A-Rod Column

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:

  8. Bob Tufts Posted: August 12, 2012 at 02:22 PM (#4206803)

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

11. Bob Tufts Posted: August 13, 2012 at 11:15 AM (#4207193)

I don’t know all of the details of the Taylor Hooton story, but Bob, you don’t really sound as if you feel for the man.

Reserach has shown that anti-depressants have a definitive link to teenage suicides – steroids do not. He should be examining black box warnings on lexapro and not manufacturing pseudo-science. I do feel for his loss, but his loss has been used to create national public policy, and creating national policy on a sad story is always wrong.

It sounds to me like you are mocking him.

No, just asking him to follow the science and not his heart.

Furthermore, are you willing to say unequivocally that Hooton’s suicide had NOTHING to do with his use of steroids? Nothing at all? I’m not sure how you would know that.

According to the CDC (2007), 3 deaths were attributed to steroids. Odds are very slim.

And even if you are right, and his death had nothing to do with steroids, I don’t see anything wrong with Mr. Hooton discouraging teenage boys from using steroids. Perhaps he’s wrong on the specific cause and effect with regard to his son, but his overall anti-steroid message is the right one.

Yes, but the message is backwards. Teens are prone to real risk from alcohol, drugs and prescription drugs. Hooton should be wrapping these up into one message and emphasizing the slippery slope of these other substances. I do not advocate the use of AAS’s, as there has been little actual scientific study done on human for obvious moral reasons.

And as for the foundation, Internal Revenue Service tax returns show that the Taylor Hooton Foundation has become a “friends and family full employment” dynamo.

According to their 2009 IRS Form 990, foundation President Hooton earned $163,623. The organization’s expenses for that tax year were $672,634, so Hooton’s compensation was 24% of all expenses. In the 2008 tax year, he received $165,000, and the organizations total expenses were $507,973, so his pay was 32% of total expenses.

What percentage of expenses did Dodgers executive Howard Sunkin earn in 2007 from the Dodgers Dream Foundation that triggered a California State AG’s investigation? He received $401,395 in compensation of the organization’s $1,565,973 in total expenses, sligthly over 25%! That pay was in line with someone that ran a $100 million not for profit.

According to pages 28-29 of the THF 2009 Form 990, the wife of the foundation treasurer received $12,500 as an independent contractor and also $36,000 in salary. A director’s firm got a $98,262 consulting contract, another board member got a $75,000 consulting deal and Hooton’s son was hired and paid $47,075. Counting Hooton’s salary and these transactions, $432,460 of the $672,634 in assets in that fiscal year – 64%! – went to these insiders in compensation and did not go towards programs!

He and his freinds are making a federal tax assisted living off of his son’s death due to other causes and I find that objectionable.

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?


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