When Major League Baseball (MLB) first handed out its 211-game suspension to New York Yankees third-baseman Alex Rodriguez this past August, it wasn’t just the baseball world that was impacted. It also hit home for anti-steroid nonprofit foundation in McKinney, Texas, with which Rodriguez worked.
Rodriguez, popularly known as A-Rod, worked with the Taylor Hooton Foundation not long after a 2009 press conference where he admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) from 2001-2003. The foundation works to educate children about the dangers of steroids, and Rodriguez did speaking work with it to advance that cause. The Foundation cut ties with the star third-basemen after his August suspension for alleged use of steroids and other infractions.
Arbitrator Frederick Horowitz reduced the original 211-game suspension top 162 after Rodriguez’s appeal on Saturday, five months after A-Rod appealed the suspension. Foundation head Don Hooton said in a statement that he is “disappointed and saddened” by the decisions A-Rod made that led to his suspension.
“The Taylor Hooton Foundation fully supports the efforts made by Major League Baseball to eradicate illegal anabolic steroids and other appearance and performance enhancing drugs from the game,” said Hooton.
Despite the suspension of one of the highest profile players in baseball, Hooton said that he remains concerned that Americans are too focused on “shiny objects” in the form of the professional athletes who are caught using PEDs. He said that more focus needs to be placed on the millions of middle- and high school children using these drugs. Hooton started his Foundation after his son, Taylor, committed suicide after using PEDs.
Rodriguez continues to deny using PEDs and has gone to federal court to overturn the arbitrator’s decision, which he charged is unfair and based on the “hearsay evidence” of Tony Bosch, the founder of a now-defunct “anti-aging” clinic in Miami that MLB alleges provided Rodriguez with PEDs.