I will do my best to not comment on every ARod gaff, goof, etc. this whole season. No promises, but I will try to keep it to a minimum.
This one, however, is not his fault, but it's worth mentioning:
The Taylor Hooton Foundation has recently announced that Alex Rodriguez would be joining their team to help educate the youth of America against the perils of steroid use. Don Hooton, president of the Taylor Hooton Foundation has stated:That's all great, wonderful, fantastic. ARod's taking the steps that McGwire never took.
"This is the first time that we have teamed up with a ballplayer who has made a mistake with steroids...he stressed he wants to turn his mistake into something positive..."
A glance at the Taylor Hooton Foundation website reveals that they have published informational articles from the so-called Association Against Steroid-Abuse (AASA) . This company, located in Houston, TX, is owned by Brian Clapp, who, according to aboutus.org is also the owner of Steroid.com -- a site where you can learn how to use anabolic steroids and even receive a list where you can find contact information for steroid dealers:WHOOPS!!! This isn't ARod's fault; it's the Hooton Foundation's lack of due diligence. But it's startling nonetheless.
"To subscribe to our list of International Steroid Suppliers, please fill out the form below. Your list will be confidentially MAILED to you within 24 hours."
A complete business report reveals that Mr. Clapp also owns the sites SteroidCleanse.com (a site where you can purchase a product that can be used to beat sports doping tests), AR-R.com (where you can purchase supplies for home-brewing injectable steroids, as well as liquid versions of Viagra and other drugs), and even BuySteroids.com, which promises:
"Buy Anabolic Steroids online at Buy Steroids. We ship discreetly, internationally, no prescription required, secure checkout, trusted vendor."
At this point, it is not believable that Mr. Hooton was unaware of the hypocricy behind the AASA, as he's been promoted by Steroid.com in the past, and apparently is such good friends with Millard Baker (a Steroid.com author) that he was introduced to Dr. Michael Scally by him. Dr. Scally is a doctor who has lost his license to practice medicine in Texas, because he'd been prescribing drugs illegally to steroid users. Why is Don Hooton palling around with a doctor who lost his license for working with steroid users, when he earns 100% of his income from being an anti-steroid crusader? Why is he being promoted by Steroid.com, and their authors on a site where "beat steroid testing" products are clearly advertised next to articles promoting Mr.Hooton? Why is Don Hooton not investigating people he associates with?
The good news:
After the initial publication of this article (on February 20th, 2009), it was removed and slightly altered from it's original form. The Taylor Hooton Foundation has removed any and all information gained from the Association Against Steroid Abuse from their own site, and expressed thanks to Anthony Roberts and Examiner.com for alerting them to the situation.Big thanks to Anthony Roberts for sending me this story.
UPDATE (11:35am, 3/5/09): I traded a few emails with the author, Anthony Roberts. I was dumbfounded that Hooton would allegedly knowingly associate himself with steroid pushers. His reply, with his consent (I can neither confirm nor deny his claims here, but I have posted them since it's the first time I am hearing them):
"I'm a steroid-industry insider...Don wasn't unaware...I told him, prior to his putting the AASA information up on his site...he knew FULL WELL who they were and what they were up to. And if I hadn't, then he should still do his due diligence and research this kind of thing on his own. After having three books published on steroids, I can tell you that this kind of stuff goes on every day.
He did it because nobody is watching him. He lost his son. People are hesitant to attack his credibility because he lost his son, which is tragic, but his son was on Lexapro (side effect listed: Suicide) and not steroids (for which suicide is not listed as a side effect). He blithely claims his son killed himself because of steroid use, and few people want to wear the black hat and say that Don is wrong.
Check out the movie "Bigger Stronger Faster" - Don is asked by the director of the documentary about the lexapro vs. steroids thing, and he says that he doesn't care about logic or logical arguments, because he lost his son. That's great, and I sympathize, but then he shouldn't be testifying in front of Congress (or making ~$4.5 million per year off his foundation)."
UPDATE #2 (1:30pm, 3/5/09): Seems I touched a nerve... I just got off the phone with The Hooton Foundation's representatives. I don't think they are sending henchmen after me but they did want to get their side of the story out. In the interest of portraying both sides of the story, I will let you decide what you want to believe.
I spoke with the attorney who represents Don's Foundation. He stated that Don "emphatically had no clue about Mr. Clapp's background." When Don initially started doing research, he was doing internet searches and came across Clapp's "Association Against Steroid-Abuse" and some articles that appeared to be legitimate. Don apparently did not know that Clapp was moonlighting as a steroid pusher. Don also vaguely remembers his chat with Anthony Roberts and fully admits that he didn't do enough due diligence.
Since then, the representative claims, they have revamped the Foundation's leadership, now chaired by famed WADA leader Dr. Gary Wadler. Also on the board is James Whitehead (CEO of the American College of Sports Medicine). Per the representative: "This little foundation outspends all federal anti-steroid programs by a factor of 10."
Lastly, the representative mentioned the movie referenced above, noting that it was more of a "videotorial". It appeared they were on a mission to cast those who disagreed in a bad light. Having not seen the movie, I can not offer an opinion. He did say, however, that the interview was taken in Taylor's bedroom, which has not changed since his death. Personally speaking, I can't imagine conducting an interview in my deceased son's bedroom and not being emotional or incoherent.
Let's just make this crystal clear: I have no interest in causing any harm to any anti-steroid efforts, particularly those who are seeking to educate in the schools. I would welcome the Foundation to come to my town to present to the kids. I have asked the representative for an invite when they come to Yankee Stadium during this season.
I originally wrote about all of this not to slam the Hooton Foundation, but rather to show how easy even the most reputable efforts can be undone by treachery. I had never heard of these connections prior to receiving an email from Anthony Roberts last evening. The connection to ARod was unfortunate but was enough to bring this all to light.
Consider this an invitation to both The Hooton Foundation and Millard Baker to contribute to the website. I will also volunteer my services, in any way I can, to assist in anti-steroids efforts.