Former New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez reflected on his fall from grace and subsequent rise in popularity in a "Where are they now?" profile for Sports Illustrated.
Rodriguez was suspended for the entire 2014 season for violating Major League Baseball's performance-enhancing drug policy.
Rodriguez said when he walked out of the MLB offices after receiving his punishment he screamed, "this is (expletive) bull(expletive)" and thought his public image would be forever tarnished.
“I fell from the Empire State Building,” Rodriguez told SI. “Nobody pushed me. I (expletive) jumped. No parachute. I have no one to blame for myself. But what’s changed is, I got my ass humbled. I paid a deep penalty. I’ve learned lessons. And I’m different.”
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Rodriguez returned to hit 33 home runs in 2015 and played his final game in August 2016. His post-retirement entrepreneurial rise has been accompanied with increased popularity. He's engaged to Jennifer Lopez, he's a media personality as a broadcaster for ESPN and cast member of Shark Tank, and he owns his own brandmark.
That ascension was product of how Rodriguez managed his self-growth during the suspension.
“Remember: I went to prom, and a few months later I’m in Fenway Park, facing Roger Clemens,” Rodriguez explained. “I’m still a boy, and here I am having to play with people who are twice my age. I felt this fake bravado. Physically, I was ready, because I was a man-child. But not emotionally. Then you go on this ascending road for 20 years, along the way you make hundreds of millions of dollars, it’s (expletive) hard to have some reality, some self-awareness.
"In college, you get four years to get things out of your system, to grow, to learn. I don’t know what that’s like. The sabbatical — my time off, when I served my suspension —really taught me things that I should have been learning at 19, 20, 21 years old."
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