Alex Rodriguez was reportedly granted permission to use performance-enhancing drugs by Major League Baseball during the 2007 season. The revelation comes via an excerpt from the new book “Blood Sport: Alex Rodriguez, Biogenesis and the Quest to End Baseball’s Steroid Era.”
A section of the book, which was written by Tim Elfrink and Gus Garcia-Roberts, explains how A-Rod was given an exemption to use testosterone throughout the entire 2007 season. He belted 54 home runs, drove in a career-high 156 RBI and batted a career-high .314 that season en route to winning the American League MVP Award. Here’s an explanation of how it went down, via Sports Illustrated:
Under baseball’s performance-enhancing drug policy, players can apply for a so-called therapeutic use exemption (TUE) to take certain medical substances otherwise banned by MLB. A doctor appointed by both sides—the independent program administrator (IPA) — reviews all applications. Baseball also has an expert medical panel to advise the IPA. If an exemption is granted, the player cannot be punished for using that substance. The exemption is good for one year.
Before the 2007 season, Rodriguez asked for permission to use testosterone, which has been banned by baseball since 2003. The IPA in ’07 was Bryan W. Smith, a High Point, N.C., physician. (Baseball did not yet have the advisory medical panel.) On Feb. 16, 2007, two days before Rodriguez reported to spring training, Smith granted the exemption, allowing Rodriguez to use testosterone all season.
The book goes on to explain how rare testosterone exemptions are, with players more commonly being granted TUE’s to use banned substances like Adderall. In 2007, 111 of the 1,354 players who were subject to drug testing were granted TUE’s. Rodriguez was one of only two players who was allowed to use “androgen efficiency medications,” or testosterone.
The entire excerpt is very much worth reading. A-Rod has allegedly applied for several more exemptions throughout his career, and some have been granted. He also admitted to using steroids from 2001-2003, which means Rodriguez has likely been using PEDs throughout much of his career. Shocking, I know.