Tip of the Juiceberg
If A-Rod flunked a drug test, what else don't we know?
Also in Slate: Tim Marchman argues that nobody liked Alex Rodriguez before the steroids and nobody likes him now.
Alex Rodriguez took steroids once in 2003 … right?
Actually, we don't know that. All we know is what Sports Illustrated reported Saturday: that four sources say "Rodriguez's name appears on a list of 104 players who tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs" in 2003. According to Major League Baseball, it's still just an "allegation."
But what's really unsettling about the report isn't that there's less doping here than meets the eye. It's that for several reasons, there's probably much, much more.
Let's look at the A-Rod iceberg from the top down. Start with the part we can see above the water's surface: His name is on the list of flunked players. As today's New York Times explains, "the players had agreed to the 2003 tests under the condition that their results would never be revealed."
How many other tests have been taken and flunked but, under rules dictated by the players, never disclosed to the public?
How many test results has the players association destroyed?
Third: These results ended up in the government's hands through a bizarre series of legal flukes and errors.
How many other positive test results are still out there, unknown to the government?
How many other lists have been obtained by the government but successfully suppressed?
Fifth: A drug test doesn't show when you started using the drug. It shows when you got caught. How long was Rodriguez doping before this test? Steroid evangelist Jose Canseco has already alleged that he hooked up Rodriguez in the late 1990s with a trainer who later indicated to Canseco that Rodriguez had begun doping. SI's Tom Verducci lays out additional grounds for suspicion, wondering how Rodriguez could be "so unlucky as to be caught the first and only time he tried something." Verducci asks:
Will Saletan covers science, technology, and politics for Slate and says a lot of things that get him in trouble.
Photograph of Alex Rodriguez by Jim Rogash/Getty Images.