Alex Rodriguez is working hard to shift his public persona from “sleazy, dishonest, habitual drug cheat” to “charismatic and lovably self-aware ex-player,” and that requires some apologizing.
According to CBS Miami, Rodriguez spoke to some college students at a luncheon Thursday and acknowledged that he was a “jerk” and an “ass” during his 2013 steroid scandal.
“I think just being a big jerk, you know?” Rodriguez said to the students. “I was just a really big jerk.”
“I made mistakes and then I doubled down and became a bigger jerk and then went on sports radio and made an ass of myself,” he said.
After being suspended 211 games as part of the Biogenesis PED investigation in 2013, A-Rod sued Major League Baseball, then went on Mike Francesa’s radio show to emphatically deny taking illegal substances. Given the evidence, as well as Rodriguez’s history with PEDs, the blame-everyone-but-himself anger was not a good look, even at the time. His suspension was eventually reduced to 162 games, which he served during the 2014 season.
A-Rod’s reputation rehab began in 2015 when he put up shockingly impressive statistics for the Yankees while staying on his best behavior in the clubhouse. After being released by the Yankees last August, Rodriguez served on FOX’s MLB postseason studio show and won praise for both his analysis and his good-natured charm.
Earlier this month, FOX hired A-Rod fulltime as a studio and game analyst for the network, offering him a platform to further restore his public image. In addition to his broadcast work, he also runs A-ROD CORP, a business that does… something.
It seems likely that some public relations person told Rodriguez he couldn’t fully move on from his past indiscretions unless he expressed some remorse. And as far as apologies go, calling yourself an ass is a pretty good one.