Former Cincinnati Reds great Pete Rose has an age-old message for Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Braun and all of the other players involved in the recent Biogenesis scandal—honesty is the best policy.
Speaking to Ted Berg of USA Today, Rose had this to say about how players should handle their business when it comes to making mistakes:
"We have to get these people to understand that if you make mistakes, people will forgive you if you come forward... Don't do like I did. Don't do like (Ryan) Braun did. Don't do like A-Rod did."
UPDATE: Monday, Aug. 12, at 11:40 a.m. ET
CBS Pittsburgh's Staff has the latest from Pete Rose's appearance on 93.7 The Fan with John Phillips:
'You have to understand, I don’t call these guys to do shows, they call me. And of course with all this steroid talk and the 12 guys being suspended and A-Rod appealing, they want my input because I’m suspended for life. Hey, everything is a different case. I made mistakes. I can’t whine about it. I’m the one that messed up and I’m paying the consequences. However, if I am given a second chance, I won’t need a third chance. And to be honest with you, I picked the wrong vice. I should have picked alcohol. I should have picked drugs or I should have picked up beating up my wife or girlfriend because if you do those three, you get a second chance. They haven’t given too many gamblers a second chances in the world of baseball.'
---End of update---
Braun, who waited until his most recent suspension to come clean and apologize, had vehemently denied PED use in the past. He now has a PR disaster on his hands and will deal with his own 65-game suspension.
Rodriguez admitted to taking performance enhancing drugs for a three-year period from 2001-2003 in 2009, but has steadfastly denied use of them since. He now faces a 211-game ban from the league that stretches until the conclusion of the 2014 season.
Rose went on to lament the fact that he wasn't more forthright with MLB when he was suspended for betting on baseball while manager of the Reds in 1989, pointing to Jason Giambi and Andy Pettitte as prime examples of players who owned their mistakes. Both remain active in the MLB as Giambi now plays for the Cleveland Indians while Pettitte pitches for the Yankees.
I wish I had come forward a long time ago. Some guys came forward, like (Jason) Giambi, like (Andy) Pettitte. And they went on with their lives. They're playing and they're making good money, and there's no shadow upon them right now
While Rose implored players to not fight their cases like A-Rod and Braun have done, he understands why Rodriguez is appealing his suspension.
It sounds to me like he thinks he got a lot more than Ryan Braun, and basically he might have done the same thing... Baseball and the players association have rules. If you stay within the rules -- which say that you can play while you're appealing -- I don't see what anyone would be in arms about.
Rose also weighed in on other suspended players, Jhonny Peralta of the Detroit Tigers and Nelson Cruz of the Texas Rangers, stating that each should be eligible to play with their teams in the postseason should they qualify.
Rose has a checkered past himself. He remains banned from baseball for life not only for his transgressions but also his refusal to admit to his mistakes.
Hopefully players who are caught with their hand in the cookie jar will heed his sage advice in the future.