Baseball icon Alex Rodriguez admits to steroid useFebruary 10th, 2009 - 1:15 pm ICT by IANS
Washington, Feb 10 (DPA) Alex Rodriguez, arguably the greatest US baseball player and an icon of the sport, admitted to taking performance-enhancing drugs for three years while playing for the Texas Rangers.
The shocking and frank confession came in an interview with US sports network ESPN Monday. Rodriguez, also known as A-Rod, said he started using steroids in 2001 after signing a $252 million contract with Texas, which at the time was the most expensive in baseball history.
“I was stupid for three years. I was very, very stupid,” said Rodriguez, his voice unsteady at times, according to excerpts of the interview released by ESPN.
Rodriguez, 33, left the Texas Rangers in 2004 to join the New York Yankees and said he had been “clean” since making the move. A-Rod signed another record 10-year, $275 million contract with the Yankees last year. He plays third base for the team.
“I am sorry for my Texas years. I apologise to the fans of Texas,” he told ESPN’s Peter Gammons.
Until 2004, there were no penalties in baseball for taking performance-enhancing drugs, but the admission will no doubt taint Rodriguez’ already illustrious career. A-Rod is currently on track to break the all-time record for home runs hit by a baseball player.
The home run record is currently held by Barry Bonds, who himself was embroiled in a steroid scandal that has tarnished his place in the record books. Before this confession, many in the sport had counted on Rodriguez breaking that record in order to help restore baseball’s reputation.
Steroid use has dogged baseball for a decade and a number of the sport’s all-time greats have become implicated in the scandal, including Roger Clemens, Mark McGuire, Sammy Sosa, Jason Giambi and Jose Canseco.
A-Rod’s own confession was brought on after US magazine Sports Illustrated reported over the weekend that Rodriguez was one of 104 players who tested positive for steroids in 2003, when the league conducted a series of tests to investigate just how widespread steroid use was in the sport.
Rodriguez said there was a “different culture” in baseball before penalties and random testing for banned substances was introduced in 2004. A-Rod said he felt “an enormous amount of pressure to perform” after signing the record contract with Texas in 2001.
“I wanted to prove to everyone that I was worth being one of the greatest players of all time,” Rodriguez said.