You Can’t Blame Absent Parents

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My parents separated when I was in second grade and, after a lengthy court battle, finally divorced when I was 10 years old. I love my dad, but I can’t say we’re close.

He rarely made it to a soccer game; he didn’t come to my high school graduation; he wasn’t there when I received my acceptance letter to NYU; he likely won’t be there when I get married or have children. You get the point…

But my mom has always been here. She’s always referred to herself my #1 Fan. And my sister has often acted like my other parent, only because I’m the younger sister who, by right, was supposed to get into trouble and be scolded by someone who’d ‘been there and done that.’

But for any trouble I did get into in my younger years, and for any issues I have now and for the rest of my life, you won’t hear me blaming it on my ‘absent father.’ Can’t say the same for New York Yankees third baseman Alex ‘A-Rod’ Rodriguez and his legion of fans – even New York journalists.

George Vecsey, sports columnist for The New York Times, recently wrote an article titled “Bedeviled by Life’s Curveballs, Rodriguez Misses the Guideposts” in which he blatantly blamed A-Rod’s abent father for his illegal use of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs)…which gave A-Rod an edge in professional baseball.

Mr. Vecsey opened his story with the following (laughable) statements: “The singular event in the life of Alex Rodriguez is not his imminent suspension, or the career home run record that now will never happen. The event that makes him so remote, so rudderless, took place when he was 9, when his father disappeared. This is not pop psychology to explain a man who blundered into the airplane propeller of adult reality. This is his own theory.”

At first, I thought Mr. Vecsey was going to write a story about how A-Rod is blaming is lack of upbringing for getting caught using PEDs. But when I got to the end of the article, I read this: “Alex Rodriguez, just turned 38, is about to fade away. He never had that stern voice in his ear that said, ‘Alex — don’t!’”

Seriously? The above statement is coming from the guy who also wrote the following statement just before he ended the article: “Many behemoths of the past generation are hoping baseball writers forget why they aren’t voting all those fantastic career statistics into the Hall. And good luck with that.” So, Mr. Vecsey, will sports writers like you turn their backs on A-Rod the same way you shun Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens? Or will you give A-Rod a pass because his daddy never sent him to his room or kept him from seeing his friends for a week?

Steroid usage in the MLB has been ‘against the rules’ since the ’90s, and there were plenty of scandals continuing through the 2000s and, obviously, into this year. And when you think about it, following the rules isn’t really rocket science. You know right from wrong. Everyone grows up knowing ‘the rules.’ For example, you don’t take things from the store without paying for them; you don’t copy someone’s test answers; you don’t drive 80mph when the speed limit is 40. Sure, your parents are charged with teaching you right from wrong, but as grown men and women it’s not hard to follow the rules. You either choose to do so or cheat and try not to get caught. And that’s what A-Rod did.

No one can sit there with a straight face and tell me A-Rod broke the rules because he never had a father figure scolding him for bad behavior. He knew he wasn’t supposed to take PEDs, he did it anyway and he should be punished for cheating. It’s as simple as that.

Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY Sports Photograph

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About Carrie Williams

Carrie Williams is TCW's managing/digital editor. She manages day-to-day editorial operations of the monthly print publication, website and social media outlets, contributes to a variety of feature articles and directs a team of interns, freelance writers and bloggers. In early 2013, she led the redesign of TCWmag.com/restructure of TCW's brand strategy. Her blog, "Carrie On," is a blog of reflection and discovery, discussing how to push through life when you’re handed one too many curveballs. And finally, Ms. Williams is also executive director of the TCW Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit supporting underfunded women's and children's organizations.