A-Rod admits he used performance-enhancing substance

By , Staff writer

So now it's official.

Just 48 hours after Sports Illustrated published its bombshell of a report alleging that the New York Yankee's all-star third baseman Alex Rodriguez tested positive for using a banned substance in 2003, the Bronx bomber admitted it.

ESPN.com posted the news on its website ahead of its broadcast of the exclusive interview later tonight.

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"When I arrived in Texas in 2001, I felt an enormous amount of pressure. I needed to perform, and perform at a high level every day," Rodriguez told ESPN's Peter Gammons in an interview in Miami Beach, Fla. "Back then, [baseball] was a different culture. It was very loose. I was young, I was stupid, I was naïve. I wanted to prove to everyone I was worth being one of the greatest players of all time.
"I did take a banned substance. For that, I'm very sorry and deeply regretful."

A blow for baseball

To have baseball's golden boy - and top celebrity (thanks, in part to his cozy friendship to pop icon Madonna) - be publicly shamed this way will be difficult for the sport.

"Nobody can save baseball's numbers," laments Ray Ratto, a sports columnist for The San Franciso Chronicle.

According to a report on SI.com authored by Selena Roberts and David Epstein, Alex Rodriguez, the man best positioned to overtake Barry Bonds' home run record and the game's most impressive offensive specimen, allegedly tested positive for testosterone and the anabolic steroid Primobolan in 2003. This after he denied early, often and publicly that he had ever used any performance-enhancing drugs, and long after he had been held aloft as the man who could save baseball from its decadeslong reputation as a glorified needle exchange program.

What about that Mitchell Report?

The news comes a little more than a year after former Sen. George Mitchell's thorough report on baseball's pervasive steroid culture, which the Monitor wrote about at the time.

Now Mitchell is busy tackling another tough problem: brokering peace in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

But others are still focused on cleaning up the dugouts, such as Dr. Don Catlin, who was instrumental in uncovering the BALCO scandal - the one that ensnared more than a dozen top athletes, including Barry Bonds and Marion Jones.

Shift the burden of proof?

As good as he is at it though, Catlin is tiring of trying to find every last performance-enhancing drug – and every last athlete using one. As he explained in a Monitor profile last summer, he is working on a new paradigm in which athletes would be responsible for proving their innocence - rather than scientists and officials being responsible for proving their guilt.

So if you're tired of reading about the latest doping allegation, click here for a fresh view on how to preserve sport's integrity.

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