ARod, PEDs: MLB’s Continuing PR Problem

The news (finally) came down on Aug. 5 that New York Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez was suspended for the remainder of the 2013 season and the entire 2014 season. Thirteen other Major League Baseball players were also banned, including Nelson Cruz of the Texas Rangers and Jhonny Peralta of the Detroit Tigers. But when is a suspension not a suspension? When ARod decides to appeal and is active on the Yankee roster.

Courtesy: AP

Courtesy: AP

ARod being allow to being allowed to play is all part of the appeal process. So, there he was in Chicago Monday night: batting cleanup in the Yankee order, all while being accused of taking performance-enhancing drugs, or PEDs. Despite MLB Commissioner Bud Selig levying the bans, ARod playing and the possibility of more players essentially cheating is a huge public relations problem. But why? Didn’t baseball do the right thing? Sure they did. Selig and Co. had the evidence in the Biogenesis case to suspend the offenders. It’s not going to end the issue, though.

1. ARod’s appeal and case- With Rodriguez’s announcement that he will appeal his unprecedented 211 game ban, this has a chance to get ugly for MLB and the Yankees. In 2008, ARod admitted he used PEDs once before. While the Bronx Bombers aren’t directly connected, ARod is still on the active roster. Every city he goes to until the appeal is heard is going to be a nightmare. It will constantly be on every sports network and in news coverage. Once the appeal is heard, what if MLB’s positions aren’t found to be valid? Now you have a league that suspended a player and they didn’t have proper evidence.

2. Bud Selig’s legacy- The Commish has been in his position (officially) since 1998. In his time, he’s done some terrific things: the Wild Card, revenue sharing and interleague play. However, the big mark on his tenure has been PEDs and the steroid issue. It is well documented that steroids were rampant in the game as the 2000’s were on its way. Selig has denied that he was to blame. While it is hard to just pin it on him, he is baseball’s “CEO”; you need to have control over your business.

3. Baseball may never be totally “clean”- Here is what Tampa Bay Devil Rays 3B tweeted on Monday:

Sure, it is a step. But the problem is there will always be others that try to cheat. Players like future hall-of-famers Ken Griffey, Jr and Derek Jeter have, presumably, played the game clean. But did they? There’s even been rumblings about Mike Piazza, the all-time home run leader for catchers, as being a steroid user (it’s never been proven and Piazza never failed a drug test as a player). Sadly, those players are under the “Steroid Era” umbrella. MLB can never truly say that its game is clean. And that’s a major PR issue.

How will MLB handle the continuing questions? Will ARod’s appeal bring more of a black cloud over baseball? Let your voice be heard in the comments.

About JasMollica

"It's never too late to have a life and it's never too late to change one." That's something I tell students, friends, and family all the time. After living and working in New York City, I took my own advice in 2004, switched my career from the television/radio industry and got into public relations. Now, I spend my days as a PR/social media marketing consultant and get inspired daily. It's been a good ride, so far. But the car has plenty of gas left. I hope you'll join along in this guy's journey!

Posted on August 6, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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