MLB

Anti-steroid group counted on A-Rod

Young New York Yankees fan Liam O'Connor leans over the top of the dugout seeking autographs before the start of a game
Fans like this youngster won't be hearing a believable anti-PED message from Alex Rodriguez.
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Tully Corcoran

Tully Corcoran spent seven years covering the Kansas City Chiefs and Kansas Jayhawks for The Topeka Capital-Journal. His work has been honored multiple times by The Kansas Press Association. He most recently wrote for FOX Sports Houston and FOX Sports Southwest. Follow him on Twitter.

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Don Hooton doesn't want to use the word "deceived" when it comes to Alex Rodriguez, but it is true that Rodriguez was scheduled to make an anti-steroids speech for Hooton's organization this coming Sunday — or what is now known as six days after MLB suspended the third baseman 211 games for using performance-enhancing drugs.

"Sad and disappointed,” Hooton said.

In 2004, Hooton founded the Taylor Hooton Foundation, which is named after Hooton's son, a high school baseball player and admitted steroid user who killed himself in 2003. Hooton believes his son's suicide was the result of depression brought on by anabolic steroid use.

Hooton said he doesn't think steroids are perceived to be as dangerous as the actually are, and the purpose of his foundation is to educate the public, with a focus on kids and teenagers.

Hooton established a mutually beneficial relationship with Rodriguez in 2009, when the New York Yankees star admitted to using PEDs and promised to clean up.

Rodriguez got to associate himself with an anti-steroids group and Hooton got one of the most famous athletes in the world attracting cameras and tape recorders to his events.

There was a lot of potential to that partnership.

When I first talked to Hooton two weeks ago, he was still holding out hope that Rodriguez was clean and would be able to speak at Sunday's event. But, as he put it, "I'm not the village idiot."

Monday, The Taylor Hooton Foundation severed ties with Rodriguez and will replace him on Sunday with Andy Pettitte.

Hooton wasn't the only one, according to postcrescent.com.

Rodriguez's name was scrubbed from a youth baseball field in Wisconsin, too. The field had been named after him in 2003.

"It is what it is," said Matt TenHaken, board president for USA Youth, which runs the facility. "I don't really know if it's disappointing. Just have to accept what's happened and move on."

CHEAT SHEET

These athletes flouted the rules. Who's in this hall of shame?

I asked Hooton what he thought it meant that someone like Rodriguez, who made a big public admission and began spreading the anti-steroids gospel, would fall right back into it.

"It says these drugs work," he said.

Tagged: Yankees, Alex Rodriguez

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