Alex Rodriguez admits to steroid use earlier in his career

February 11, 2009


US  Baseball superstar, Alex Rodriguez has admitted to testing positive for steroid use in 2003 before Major League Baseball (MLB) introduced its anti-drugs regime (penalties were only introduced from 2004 onwards):

“According to Sports Illustrated magazine, Rodriguez – playing at the time for the Texas Rangers – was one of 104 players with positive results. Major League Baseball maintains that the 2003 tests were “intended to be non-disciplinary and anonymous”, and that the list should have remained confidential.” MLB have so far refused to comment on these allegations.


Rodriguez himself is reported to have said that: “When I arrived in Texas in 2001, I felt like I had all the weight of the world on top of me, and I needed to perform at a high level every day. I started experimenting with things that, today, are not legal, that today are not accepted. “Back then, it was a different culture [surrounding drugs]. It was very loose. I was young and naive. I am sorry for my Texas years. I apologise to the fans of Texas.”

A transcript of the interview can be downloaded at:

Rodriguez was one of 104 major league players who tested positive for steroids in baseball’s first-ever drug-testing program in 2003. It was supposed to be a confidential test. But his test result was leaked to the media, and now the other 103 players are left to wonder if their test results will play out in the media, too. “The matter is still under appeal,” union executive director Don Fehr said, “so we have to assume that the law will be respected.”

Indeed, if prosecutors are allowed to use the list and bring players before grand juries and trial courts, additional stars might be forced to admit they used steroids. “It’s definitely not fair to just pinpoint one guy,” Boston’s Kevin Youkilis said of his Yankees rival. “I don’t know if somebody had it in for him. I don’t know what because it seems like just to take one name out of that whole group is a little odd to me. If he was named with 10 other players, would that have been fair? I don’t know? If they’d have listed all 104?”

Although the MLB agreed to destroy the results of the testing programme, these results were later seized by the government as part of its investigation into steroid distribution by BALCO, the Bay Area-based supplement company before they could be destroyed. Fehr later went to court and got three different judges to say that the government was wrong and, in fact, had violated the constitutional rights of the players and of the players’ association, and ordered it to give it all back. A three-judge panel in California overturned that decision 2-1, allowing the government to pursue all 104 players who tested positive pending further appeals. It is unknown how many of the BALCO 10 were included in that total. Then the full 9th Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the panel’s decision, and began hearing arguments in the case late last December. Until they make their final ruling, there are 103 players wondering if their private records are safe.


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About Kris

Associate Professor in Sports Law, Staffordshire University; British Gymnastics Senior Coach

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