Enjoying a cup of coffee and the Today Show last week, I was reminded of a time in my adolescence when my dad couldn't get me to shut my mouth – for my own good.
I must have been a freshman or sophomore in high school. It was a Saturday and the family had just spent the better part of the day at the Mile High Flea Market in Denver. It was a peaceful ride in the family van as we made our way back to Summit County. My sister had her headset on, listening to some new album. My mom and dad sat up front in the van, chatting happily. For whatever reason, probably my age, I decided to get in an argument with my mom. What it was over, I can’t remember. What I do remember is my dad trying to stop me before I took the argument too far.
“Look at those ducks over there,” my dad said, pointing to a pond. I paid him no attention and continued on my rant. He could sense my mom’s mood was shifting.
“Hey, look at those ducks over there,” he told me again, this time a little louder. I heard him, but paid no attention. He could see what I was headed for, and it was beginning to anger him as well. Still, I continued on my ill-fated rant.
“Look at those Goddamned ducks over there!”
This time he got my attention, even though the ducks were 12 miles back. He knew I was on the road to an afternoon of angry mom syndrome and was trying to stop me and yet I was too pigheaded and stupid to hear him. He laid out easy-to-see warning signs and I refused to see them for my own good.
I was reminded of this family moment when I saw Alex Rodriguez’s attorney Joseph Tacopina on the Today Show in an exclusive interview with Matt Lauer. If you haven’t seen this interview yet, look it up on YouTube as soon as possible – it’s the best six minutes of TV you’ll see all year.
We all know that Rodriguez is fighting his 211 game suspension from baseball for lying, drugging and being an outright jackass. Tacopina went on the Today Show to tell the world that the evidence Major League Baseball has on that alleged use of performance enhancing drug use is baseless, and comes from an anonymous source. Tacopina then said he would love to explain to the world what the evidence is about and why it’s bunk evidence.
“If the vice president of Major League Baseball would be good enough to waive the confidentiality clause, I would love nothing more than to talk about Alex Rodriguez’s testing history and various things. I would love nothing more,” Tacopina told Lauer confidently.
You see, Tacopina, under the confidentiality clause, can’t talk about A-Roid’s history and blamed it on Major League Baseball. That’s when the interview got interesting. Wiley ol’ Matt Lauer had a surprise for the hotshot lawyer.
“Joe, that office sent us a letter overnight saying they are willing to do exactly that,” Lauer said. “They sent me a letter saying if you sign this letter, they are willing to waive the confidentiality clause in the joint drug prevention and treatment program, that they would be allowed to talk about everything, and you will be allowed to talk about everything.”
Tacopina was dumbfounded. He first said that it's a document they’ve asked for over the past four weeks. Then he said he didn’t think Matt would want to wait for him, on air, to read the entire waiver and then sign it.
It was an awkward yet awesome moment. Baseball called Rodriguez’s bluff on national television and it was a sweet, sweet moment. From that point, the interview between Lauer and Tacopina went downhill. Tacopina continued on with allegations of mistreatment by the Yankees last season (who cares?) and that the public will soon find out that Rodriguez is an angel in all of this.
I took several things away from this fantastic moment in television. First off, with all the money Rodriguez is making as a Yankee, you would think he’d have a top-notch lawyer. I don’t know this Tacopina guy personally, but after Monday’s Today Show debacle, if I was A-Roid, I would send this guy packing back to the set of Jersey Shore. He buckled under pressure. Major League Baseball made him look like a chump, which makes A-Roid look to be a chump.
The second lesson I took away from the Today Show interview is precisely what I learned back in high school in the family minivan. If the writing is on the wall to shut up, it’s probably best to shut up.
A-Roid’s attorney should have never have even thought about going on the Today Show to say that he’d like to set the record straight, but a confidentiality clause is keeping him from doing so. Well, that confidentiality clause isn’t keeping him from doing it now, so A-Roid has lost a hiding place and must move to another one.
When baseball handed down his 211-game suspension, A-Roid should have just told reporters that he’s appealing the decision and left it at that. His silence would, in the public’s eye, make the case that he has a chance in the fight and that he still may be innocent in all of this. Instead, he’s making allegations that the Yankees played him last year despite knowing about an injury, having his attorney go on the Today Show and make a fool out of both of them and generally just not shutting up about things.
The legend of A-Roid isn’t going to end anytime soon, and if he wants any shot of getting that Yankee money that’s owed to him, or wants a shot at playing in the majors following his suspension, he should simply take some advice from my dad and look at those Goddamned ducks!
I would like to thank the Boston Red Sox fan at Fenway Park last weekend for holding up the A-Roid sign. It’s brilliant and I must use it every opportunity I can.