I marvel when I hear things like: “If you’re guilty, just admit it,” or “Take your punishment and move on. People will respect you all the more.” Really? Obviously, the economic and social elite does not subscribe to that theory. When faced with the prospect of jail, fines, or defamation of character, they fully unleash their clout with staggeringly positive results. They employ this so routinely it’s become accepted. Why should we react differently when a celeb Latino athlete does the same? Because we expect the Heinz, Kennedy or Vanderbilt families to rage against this treatment. When surnames like Rodriguez, Garcia, or Martinez surface, public reactions border on resentment from almost every race, Latinos included.
For those old enough to remember, Susan Smith was supposedly the “victim” of a horrific crime until coming clean about her fabrication. Prior to her admission, however, the riveting story of her two young sons being abducted by a black male quickly predisposed a nation to cast a guilty verdict. While I am not comparing this situation to that of A-Rod, what if this mountain of ‘strong’ evidence MLB has uncovered is not as potent or damaging as it’s been portrayed to the media and consuming public? What if their interpretation of this evidence is flawed? Who can vouch for its credibility? In this unilateral investigation, one party has controlled the flow of information and – until Alex appealed his suspension – steamrolled its targets with no obligations to disclose information.
If A-Rod is found guilty after undergoing a fair and due process in which he and his team have their say, so be it. But do we honestly think MLB would launch such a campaign if, say, Francisco Cervelli publicly denied the allegations? Highly unlikely. Sure A-Rod is no angel in this unfolding drama but I sense a hint of disdain for the man and obvious currents of testosterone-charged egos in all of this. Look at the “hate” ingredients: $252 million deal reworked into a $300 million contract (highest in US sports history), 6’4″, chick magnet, celebrity treatment (all-day, everyday) and a lifestyle envied at varying degrees by millions.
There’s no denying Rodriguez appears to relish his role as an accelerant and much to the disappointment of family, friends and fans, seems all too willing to immerse himself in the limelight often at his own professional peril. Once heralded as the heir apparent to Babe Ruth as the greatest player in history, his baseball accomplishments and legacy have been stained indelibly. His fast-track ticket to Cooperstown now derailed by his own shenanigans Alex may have permanently shut the door of redemption.
All of that said, our judicial system presupposes innocence until proven guilty. Rodriguez shouldn’t be crucified for exercising his rights. For all of MLB’s bravado and their hefty suspension, they have yet to validate the “proven”part.
Until they do, Alex, for a change, is finally on the right side of this one.
If you liked this article, check this one out: Latino MLB Players to Watch in 2012