The climax of those attacks came in 2013 and ‘14, when Rodriguez was caught using steroids for a second time, causing him to receive a season-long suspension. Rodriguez fondly recalls former ESPN anchor Bob Ley for going outside the lines of all the slights and abuse to report the news aptly.
“Today, the payoff is on who is most radical and that’s who’s gonna get the most views,” Rodriguez said. “But I’ll never forget this, in my darkest hour, I’m serving my suspension and everybody’s just taking hits after hits one cheaper than the other now I deserved it, I screwed up, that’s all on me.”
“Now here comes Bob, I see my name and I see my face next to Bob and Bob just gives us the news, he doesn’t put an ounce of mayonnaise, not an ounce of butter on it…Here’s a guy who had me on a platter, he could have just slapped me across the face, and he had the power of restriction not to do it. And that meant the world to me.”
Rodriguez didn’t always treat the media with the same respect, infamously lying to Mike Francesa and Yankees fans in 2013, minutes after he stormed out of a grievance hearing and claiming there was a witch hunt against him. The Yankees superstar lied about his innocence in the Biogenesis scandal on WFAN, only to accept his season-long suspension one year later.
Rodriguez joined Ley and Fox Sports vice president of production Bardia Shah-Rais to speak in front of a group of students at Seton Hall University on Tuesday. Ley, who graduated from Seton Hall in 1976, helped launch the school’s Center for Sports Media with a monetary donation last year. Rodriguez complimenting Ley as a journalist occurs around the 1:41 mark of the video.
“The young kids today, they have Barstool, ESPN, Fox, there are so many platforms where you can get your news from,” Rodriguez said. “Most of them get it online from their phones. Bob had a monopoly, we as kids had to go to Bob for the news every night of sports and it was wonderful.”
Ley noted that’s part of the reason why he helped launch Seton Hall’s Center for Sports Media, to teach that “just the facts matter.”
“Just finding the facts over the last five years in the American media is tough enough,” Ley added.