an astonishing article in The Players' Tribune—the online publication for athletes founded by Derek Jeter. The piece is astonishing for a couple of reasons—first, he didn't have to confront the issue at all; second, the forthright tone of the piece is unusual from a mega-star like Ortiz. If you had to isolate one segment as representative of the full article, it would probably be this:
"Say whatever you want about me — love me, hate me. But I’m no bullxxxxxer. I never knowingly took any steroids. If I tested positive for anything, it was for something in pills I bought at the damn mall. If you think that ruins everything I have done in this game, there is nothing I can say to convince you different."
Along the way, he specifically calls out Boston Globe sportswriter Dan Shaughnessy—who Ortiz hilariously identifies as "the reporter with the red jheri curl". After his hot start in 2013, Ortiz was asked by Shaughnessy the following, "You’re from the Dominican. You’re older. You fit the profile of a steroid user. Don’t you think you’re a prime suspect?". Understandably, this outraged Ortiz—who is still awaiting an apology.
Essentially, Ortiz blames the purchase of "over-the-counter" supplements at GNC for his appearance on the benchmark MLB list in 2003—the list that was used to set the standard for future PED regulations. The article is bold and unapologetic. And probably something he needed to finally get off his chest.