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Partial plea

Sports | For all his owning up, Rodriguez still held out from taking responsibility for the most important question of the day

Issue: "Wealth and poverty," March 14, 2009

To his credit, Alex Rodriguez is showing signs of making restitution for his admitted three years of steroid use from 2001 through 2003. In a Feb. 17 press conference, the Yankees slugger owned up to his stupidity, offered details of his infraction, and vowed to become a spokesman for a steroid-awareness program aimed at youth.

Rodriguez fought back tears as he thanked teammates for their ongoing support and appeared genuinely reflective in wondering whether skipping college to sign a big-dollar contract straight out of high school was a poor decision. What's more, he lamented both his initial verbal attack on the Sports Illustrated reporter who broke the story of his steroid use and his false denials of steroid use to Katie Couric in a 2007 interview. He has contacted both women to apologize personally.

But for all that owning up, Rodriguez still held out from taking responsibility for the most important question of the day. Asked if he thought he cheated, the game's highest-paid player delivered a disappointing, "That's not for me to determine."

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He is mistaken. Whether he cheated is entirely on him to determine and at the center of what true repentance would look like. Without that, all of Rodriguez's restituting deeds smell much more like image salvaging than sincere lament.

Rodriguez finished his press conference with a request that the world "judge me from this day forward." That's an appeal likely to go unheeded if he remains unwilling to judge his past.


Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty Images

New York Knicks guard Nate Robinson made history on Valentine's Day as just the fifth player ever to win a second NBA slam dunk contest. At 5-foot-7, he is by far the shortest among that list, which includes Michael Jordan, Dominique Wilkins, Jason Richardson, and Harold Minor. But to accomplish his feat, Robinson leapt over a man taller than any on the list, 6-foot-11 Dwight Howard.

Howard, who wowed crowds by donning a Superman cape and dunking on a special 12-foot rim to win last year's contest, was the favorite to repeat this year until he offered himself as a prop for Robinson. Howard donned his cape again, this time remaining grounded as Robinson, clad in Kryptonite green, soared over him for the contest-winning slam.

The NBA breathlessly rushed green "Krypto-Nate" jerseys into production.

Electric slider

Josch/AFP/Getty Images

Erin Hamlin, 22, shocked the world of luge Feb. 6, becoming the first non-German woman to take gold in the sport at a world championship competition since 1993, a span totaling 99 events. So complete was the German dominance that no other nation had even cracked the medal stand since 1997.

On the track in Lake Placid, N.Y., just three hours northwest from her hometown of Remsen, Hamlin slid her way to a course record and personal best time during her second run. Combined with her first run, Hamlin's total time of 1 minute 28.098 seconds bested Natalie Geisenberger of Germany by 0.187 of a second.

Ron Rossi, chief executive of USA Luge, compared the victory to another Lake Placid shocker from 29 years ago, when the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team knocked off the vaunted Russians in a miracle upset for the ages: "It's just not something that people will notice as much, but it's just as significant."


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