The Take On A-Rod's News Conference
Here's our analysis of the Alex Rodriguez's news conference.
A-Rod had to face the music, so we give him no credit for doing this in front of the media.
We have to appreciate his honesty when he basically said he wasn't sure if he'd say anything had it not been for the Sports Illustrated report.
But the bottom line is we just can't believe he took something for so long without knowing what it was.
We also expected Rodriguez to announce some major action on the spot. A-Rod kept mentioning that Don Hooton of the Taylor Hooton Foundation was there. Hooton's son committed suicide from what the family believes was depression caused by steroids. A release on the foundation's Web site says that Rodriguez will join the foundation team "to help fight youth steroid and other performance enhancing drug use." It does not say, nor did Rodriguez say, what type of donation or commitment he will make to the foundation.
Since we don't count for much, we asked Kevin Sullivan for his take. Sullivan is a former White House communications director and former NBC Sports executive who is now runs his own communications consultancy firm.
"Generally, A-Rod did very well under tough circumstances and as long as no contradicting information comes to light, he accomplished his goal of putting this behind him—at least in terms of not having to answer more questions. He answered the questions regarding the how, what and where details in a fairly satistfying way. He took more than 25 questions and generally was candid and open. His emotion about his teammates seemed genuine.
The Don Hooton partnership is smart and I'm sure, sincere. More details and emphasis on that would have been helpful.
Two points could have been made more effectively. When asked if it was cheating, he evaded, repeating the "young and stupid" framework he frequently defaulted to. Saying, "we knew we weren't taking tic tacs" was a flippant way of admitting he knew it was cheating. He also curiously said at the time, he had no regrets. A more direct response to the cheating question would have been compelling in its display of humility.
Finally, on the question regarding his message for parents, he said he was sorry and that he hoped kids didn't make the same mistake. A much more compelling and effective response would have been to say, "Look at what my bad judgment cost me: My credibility, the respect of the fans and players of the game I love and now all the accomplishments of my career are called into question -- all because of a mistake I made. Don't do it. It's not worth it. And that would have been a good launching pad to discuss his efforts to help kids, not make the same mistake he did."
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