The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

January 14, 2014

Mike Pound: Lawsuits are how athletes answer drug charges

I feel sorry for Alex Rodriguez.

Here is a guy who just wants to play the game that he loves and be left alone. Well, Alex also would like to get paid $25 million, but I’m sure the money thing is just a technicality.

“Look, if I could, I would play for free,” Alex is probably saying. “But what sort of message would that send to all those young kids out there who might also need to be paid $25 million?”

Unfortunately for Alex, the people who run Major League Baseball have decided that he needs to take a timeout this year. At first, the people who run Major League Baseball told Alex that he had to take a 211-game timeout. Then, when Alex appealed, the guy who heard the appeal decided that Alex needed to take only a 162-game timeout.

That’s still a long timeout.

The folks who run Major League Baseball suspect that Alex might have ... sort of ... maybe ... cheated. The folks who run Major League Baseball suspect that Alex used banned substances that might have given him an unfair advantage when it comes to playing the game he loves.

Alex denies using banned substances. Well, except for that time a couple of years ago when, after denying using banned substances, he had to admit that he actually did use them.

But this time, Alex says he’s telling the truth when he says he didn’t use banned substances, and I’m inclined to believe him. I mean, what are the odds that an athlete would deny doing something and then later have to admit that he had been lying the whole time?

This time, Alex says he is “really, really, really, cross-my-heart, hope-to-catch-a-little-cold, innocent.”

And to prove it, he has decided to sue Major League Baseball, the players labor union and the judges on “Dancing with the Stars.”

Alex, to my knowledge, has never appeared on “Dancing with the Stars,” but if he ever does, he wants to have already filed his lawsuit.

That’s what most athletes who are accused of cheating do, by the way: They sue people. They sue the people who accuse them of cheating. They sue the people who try to defend them against charges of cheating. They sue former friends, teammates, enemies, reporters, drug manufacturers, lawyers, doctors, bankers, butchers, bakers and candlestick makers.

At least that’s what the dumb athletes do.

Smart athletes look at the evidence against them and basically say, “OK, you got me. I’m guilty.” Then they take their punishment, come back a few months later and go back to playing the game they love and getting paid millions of dollars.

Dumb athletes deny cheating even though there usually is a mountain of evidence against them, and they continue to deny that they cheated until every time they open their mouths people roll their eyes, even their own attorneys.

Dumb athlete’s attorney: “Your honor, my client will prove that he is innocent of all charges that he cheated.”

Judge: “Counselor, did you just roll your eyes?”

Dumb athlete’s attorney: “I’m sorry, your honor, but I can’t help it. The guy is guilty as sin.”

Dumb athlete: “Hey! I’m sitting right here.”

Heck, even Chris Christie sort of admitted he was wrong when he said his office had nothing to do with closing traffic lanes on that bridge in New Jersey. Granted, he blamed everyone in his office except himself, but at least he sort of apologized.

So, Alex, do yourself a favor. Admit you cheated, take a nice vacation and come back next year. You’ll be fine.

Just don’t think about that $25 million.

DO YOU HAVE AN IDEA for Mike Pound’s column? Call him at 417-623-3480, ext. 7259, or email him at mpound@joplinglobe.com. Follow him on Twitter @mikepoundglobe.

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