Alex Rodriguez has spent most of his year-long steroid banishment hidden from public view. Aside from a few celebrity golf tournaments, he's stayed far away from the press during the ongoing Biogenesis drama that derailed his career and has lately led to a slew of indictments in South Florida, including against his cousin Yuri Sucart.
But not even A-Rod, it seems, is immune to the primal call of pouring a bucket of ice water over his head on video. The suspended star did the viral ALS challenge yesterday and -- in addition to being a classic awkward A-Rod moment -- it also managed to raise some disturbing questions for the University of Miami.
Namely: Should a guy serving a record steroid ban really still have full access to the clubhouse of a college baseball program that's uncomfortably close to the whole scandal?
OK, to get the obvious out of the way: anyone raising money to help cure ALS probably has their heart in the right place. Let's hope they got their money's worth out of this one, too.
As you can see, A-Rod is decked out in Canes gear and stages the challenge in the dugout at UM's home field.
There aren't too many baseball programs in America itching to have the Yankees star associated with their team these days. Not only is Rodriguez serving a season-long ban for buying performance enhancing drugs from Biogenesis, but the clinic is back in the news for a sweeping round of federal charges. Its owner, Tony Bosch, has already agreed to plead guilty and testify that at the same time he was giving A-Rod steroids, he was also providing PEDs to at least 18 high school athletes in South Florida.
But UM's own ties to Biogenesis make the video even more cringeworthy. As I report in "Blood Sport: Alex Rodriguez, Biogenesis, and the Quest To End Baseball's Steroid Era," UM's baseball program has a long, sordid past tied to steroids.
Not only did Bosch build a sizable customer base around former Canes stars like Ryan Braun and Yasmani Grandal, but MLB investigators were so worried about the program they launched their own investigation, which one official told us found the Canes "dirty as sin."
So why is A-Rod still hanging around UM? Well, it's awfully tough to say no to a guy who gave your program $3.9 million. It's the same reason the Canes still play their home games at "Alex Rodriguez Park," no matter how many tabloid headlines its namesake ends up in.
And if he wants to dump ice water over his head in your dugout, well, have it A-Rod!
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Let's all just hope that Donna Shalala ignores his challenge. We've seen enough ice water dumping for one day.
(UM's athletic department hasn't respond to Riptide's request for comment on A-Rod's video; we'll update the post if we hear back.)