Steroid use in a Miami high school by the best amateur player in the country?  Tipping pitches to raise his batting average?  “Bitch tits”?  Why, the Daily News must have an early copy of the new book “A-Rod,” by Sports Illustrated’s Selena Roberts, and its litany of accusations against New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez.

Now, a lot of these accusations seem to be little more than hearsay.  And, in search of balance, a Gotham baseball blog went looking for comment from K.C. Johnson, who became familiar with Roberts’ work when she wrote about the Duke lacrosse scandal for the Times.  Johnson had this to say about Roberts:

It seems to me that maintaining credibility is vital for any journalist. Roberts, of course, may very well be correct in her reporting about A-Rod. (Let’s face it: A-Rod himself has no credibility, given that he outright lied to the nation in the Katie Couric interview.)

But based on what we saw from Roberts in the lacrosse case, nothing that she says or writes should be accepted unless it can be independently verified. After all, Roberts: (a) demonstrated a disregard for the truth (her March and April 2006 columns included factually inaccurate items that she has, to this day, refused to retract or correct); (b) made wild leaps of logic (linking the players’ supposed guilt to a critique of campus culture–only to claim, in March 2007, that she had never made such a linkage); and (c) absurdly asserted in March 2008 that criticism of her reporting came about because “some segments of the Duke lacrosse crowd did not enjoy the scrutiny of their world.” (links omitted)

Will A-Rod eventually be vindicated?  Will these new charges stick, or will they be shown to be the fruits of jealousy and opportunism?  Will Sports Illustrated survive the year?  Stay tuned.

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