ESPNEWS Provides Extensive Coverage of Alex Rodriguez Steroids Report

ESPNEWS Provides Extensive Coverage of Alex Rodriguez Steroids Report

ESPNEWS has and continues to provide comprehensive coverage of the breaking news today linking New York Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez to a positive steroids test in 2003 including:

  • On-camera interviews with one of the Sports Illustrated reporters who broke the story, Selena Roberts (courtesy of ABC World News Tonight), ESPN investigative reporter T.J. Quinn, ESPN legal analyst Roger Cossack, ESPN analyst Buster Olney and ESPN reporter Jerry Crasnick;
  • Phone interviews with Rodriguez’s former manager (and ESPN analyst) Buck Showalter, ESPN investigative reporters Mark Fainaru-Wada and Quinn, ESPN baseball analysts Tim Kurkjian, Olney and Steve Phillips, ESPN legal analyst Cossack, Texas Rangers former director of conditioning Fernando Montes, and former Rangers teammate Doug Glanville;
  • Footage from a 60 Minutes interview in 2007, when Rodriguez told interviewer Katie Couric he never took performance enhancing drugs;
  • Listener reaction from ESPN Radio 1050 in New York, along with reports from ESPN Radio 1050’s Andrew Marchand.

Additional coverage included a continuous bottom-line crawl on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNEWS, breaking news updates within live college basketball coverage throughout the day on ESPN and ESPN2, and detailed front-page reporting (with video) on ESPN.com.

On-air comments throughout the day on ESPNEWS (currently available in 68 million homes):

On any suspicion of Rodriguez using steroids:

Buck Showalter, who coached Rodriguez in 2003 – “If you remember the climate at that time…general managers and managers and coaches were pretty much there to manage and coach the players. I don’t think anybody was naïve. I’m not here to convict or say somebody’s innocent because something was written. There’s obviously some very reputable people out there that are weighing in on it who feel strongly about their sources. I like to be one of those people that let things run their course. At the same time, you realize this is potentially a very sticky and ugly situation for the Yankees and for Alex as they head into spring training.”

On whether the test results were made public to the organization:

Showalter – “No, not in any way.”

On any impact steroid testing had on Texas’ decision to trade Rodriguez:

Showalter – “No, not at all. That had nothing to do with it. Where we were as an organization, and what we were trying to do to go forward – especially with our salary structure at that time and the young players we were going to be putting on the field – it was the best fit for us. There weren’t many teams that could afford Alex, (but) obviously New York was one of them.”

Assessing Rodriguez’s dedication to conditioning:

Fernando Montes, Texas’ former director of conditioning – “I never saw the diligence in our facility, either on the road or at home…when you look at workload to performance, it didn’t match up.”

Sharing front office perspective:

Steve Phillips – “I think that all of us in the front office…when I was there, and I think even now…looked at players and did that game – is he on it, or is he not.”

On the impact to Rodriguez’s image:

Buster Olney – “It will tarnish it forever. There’s no question. This is something that sticks with the players and it does not go away…we’ve seen in the Hall of Fame voting. There is a large block of Hall of Fame voters who basically have decided, ‘I’m not going to ever vote for any player attached to this.’ This is part of the reason Mark McGwire is only polling 21-22 percent and will probably never get into the Hall of Fame.”

Evaluating affect on Hall of Fame status:

Tim Kurkjian – “My guess would be, if the voters continue to use the same philosophy they’ve used on Mark McGwire – even with just one positive drug test from 2003; even before it was illegal within baseball – I think the voters will say, ‘You’re off the list.’”

On whether the report could lead to a void of contract with the Yankees:

Olney – “I don’t think so…this happened in 2003. He’s not going to be subject to penalty…this is not information that either the teams or the union, at large, are supposed to have access to.”

On any precedent set in discovering sources:

Roger Cossack – “Not so much in sports, but in politics…there have been historical cases like this, but never so much in sports. If A-Rod was to go ahead in this situation, and then start trying to find out who it was, he would file a lawsuit against all kinds of people and then begin to start asking questions – ‘Where did you get this information?’ – and then start trying to work his way backward. You can see…this is a very difficult thing to try and find out.”

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