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A-Rod or Roger Clemens: Who to Hate?

Bleacher Report Analyst IMay 13, 2009

WASHINGTON - FEBRUARY 13:  Major League Baseball pitcher Roger Clemens (C) leaves after testifying about allegations of steroid use by professional ball palyers before the U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Capitol Hill February 13, 2008 in Washington, DC. The 'Mitchell Report' named several former and current major league baseball players, including Clemens, who are accused of using steroids or other performance-enhancing drugs.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Roger Clemens broke his “media silence” Tuesday morning in an interview with Mike and Mike on ESPN Radio. The timing of the event was certainly expected; as a book was released yesterday that for the first time in four months, made steroid allegations about someone not named Alex Rodriguez.

“American Icon: The Fall of Roger Clemens and the Rise of Steroids in America’s Pastime,” is the newest in the genre of steroid slam-dances, this time written by a fleet of New York Daily News reporters.

I feel as if a number of people tuned into this interview hoping, maybe even praying that finally Roger Clemens would say “alright, I used, whatever.” But Clemens’ response to every question was just as stale as the subject itself.

“He (Brian MacNamee) has never injected me with HGH or steroids.”

As I sat and listened to Clemens deny the obvious again, I really began to think a lot about Alex Rodriguez. And for the first time in my life, I couldn’t help but sympathize.

Despite being the Marilyn Monroe of sports, Alex Rodriguez has spent the majority of his career trying relentlessly to stay out of the media limelight. Yes, he has done some seemingly bizarre advertising campaigns, and yes he did admit to cheating. But to me that just shows how incredibly image conscious he is.

I mean, this was a guy who was willing to give his ex-wife more money as long as some of the defaming statements about him were removed from the legal papers. This is a guy who takes criticism harsher than any star athlete I can ever remember. He may have cheated but at least he has a conscious.

It wouldn't surprise me if a lot of these characteristics have contributed to the fact that A-Rod is far and away the most documented athlete on the planet. Despite being everywhere, he still has an incredible element of mystery to him. His teammates, coaches, and family have never been able to read him; which makes all of this information about him even more “juicy.”

And when you think about all of that, you need to stop and ask yourself, is A-Rod really the bad guy here?

Yes, he cheated. And there is no way of getting around that. But I want you to think about something…

If A-Rod wanted to, he could be doing exactly what Clemens is doing: denying everything. The players’ union is strong enough to have backed him (since the tests were supposed to be anonymous), Baseball obviously would now have caught him since (since they haven't), and Selena Roberts could be beating the horse dead.

But A-Rod chose to admit his steroid use. Even if it was to avoid prison time, I urge you to remember that he was not forced to admit this. And if you don’t believe me, think about the fact that there is an FBI probe on a guy named Clemens and a guy named Bonds, but not a guy named Rodriguez.

There is a reason why when you hear A-Rod’s name, you get angry; but when you hear Roger Clemens’ name, you just slap your forehead in disbelief. And now I ask you, which is worse? To me, the fear of the unknown was always greater than the fear of disappointment.

It appears that in all the hype and criticism of a guy who admitted his wrongdoings, we have forgotten who the real “bad guys” are: the people who deny their wrongdoings.

So who is really image conscious here? Is it the guy who admitted his faults and was willing to move on; or is it the guy who is so obsessed with his name in the record books that he is hanging on for dear life?

Think about that the next time you boo A-Rod.

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