Alex Rodriguez press conference was bad PR—for PR

When the baseball star said he was ‘fighting for my life’ in his high-profile doping case, observers reacted with acrimony toward an apparently scripted plea.

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On Monday,Major League Baseball suspended the New York Yankees slugger for 211 games—through the end of the 2014 season—for his involvement a doping scandal, yet he still played in that night’s game against the Chicago White Sox.

He was able to play because he’s appealing the suspension, and in a press conference before the game, Rodriguez painted himself as an embattled warrior: “I’m fighting for my life,” he said. “I have to defend myself. If I don’t defend myself, no one else will.”

That language is very similar to what appeared in a now-deleted tweet from Rodriguez’s PR spokesman Ron Berkowitz. In it, he said, “Hello Chicago!!! Lets do this!!! #fighting”

One might say that’s an example of a PR spokesman and his client simply staying on message, but quite a few observers on Twitter—PR pros included—viewed the confluence as a cynical attempt to generate sympathy.

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