TAMPA (Florida) - ALEX Rodriguez first took steroids on the advice of a cousin who injected him and said he continued taking them for three years even though he was uncertain they helped him play baseball better.
The New York Yankees superstar provided details about his doping on Tuesday, eight days after the best-paid player in Major League Baseball history admitted using performance-enhancing drugs from 2001 through 2003 as a player for Texas.
'It's extremely tough to admit mistakes but on the other hand it feels great to be moving forward,' Rodriguez said. 'I realize I have to earn back people's trust. I hope people will see this for what it is, a foolish mistake.' Rodriguez ended by saying, 'The only thing I ask from the American people is to judge me from this day forward.' Rodriguez said a cousin, whom he did not name, brought him drugs from the Dominican Republic at his request and he took them from 2001 through 2003 when a neck injury prompted a harder look at his actions.
'In 2001, my cousin told me about a substance you could purchase over the counter in the DR called Boli. He told me that it could give me an energy boost and nothing more,' Rodriguez said.
'It was pretty evident we didn't know what we were doing. He basically took instruction from me and thought he was doing something helpful not hurtful.
'My cousin did not provide any other players with it. I stopped taking in 2003 and haven't taken it since.' But there were inconsistencies in A-Rod's 45-minute media session, such as why he would continue injecting himself with a drug from the Dominican Republic twice a month for three years if he was uncertain that it had any benefits.
'I'm not sure what the benefit was,' Rodriguez said. 'When you take any substance, it's half mental and half physical... I certainly felt more energy, but it's hard to say.' So why do it? 'I wish I knew,' Rodriguez said. 'I was 24 and 25. I was young and naive.
Initially I was curious. I just gave it a try.
'I didn't think they were steroids. I was young and stupid. It was over the counter. It was pretty basic. It was really amateur hour. We went outside team doctors and trainers. It was two guys. We probably weren't even doing it right.
'After my neck injury I realised I was being silly and irresponsible and I stopped.
'I knew we weren't taking (breath mints). I knew it was something that potentially could have been wrong. I wouldnt think of doing something like that today. It's a different world.' Rodriguez, whose teammates and manager were among those on hand to lend moral support, also said he took an amphetamine early in his career while playing for Seattle that has since been put on baseball's banned list.
Rodriguez's admission added another crippling blow to a sport whose stars of a decade ago are viewed with scepticism in the wake of revelations and legal cases. He hoped to put questions behind him but realized it might not happen.
'I may have to answer them for the rest of my career. That's the position I put myself in,' Rodriguez said. -- AFP