The last time Don Hooton had a New York Yankee involved with the Taylor Hooton Foundation – which is devoted to educating the youth of America about the dangers of performance-enhancing drug use — the relationship ended awkwardly, following Alex Rodriguez’s 162-game ban in connection with the Biogenesis scandal.
Monday, three-and-a-half months removed from telling the Daily News about his “bewilderment” over A-Rod’s situation, Hooton was understandably elated to talk about Yankee outfielder Brett Gardner, after a press release announcing Gardner is joining the foundation’s new advisory board.
Hooton said he envisions a player from every Major League team eventually joining the board.
“This is moving faster than we expected,” Hooton said, referring to the evolution of the advisory board. “We’re inviting one player per team. We went to the general manager of each team and Brett makes the 12th major leaguer to commit. We’re real excited.”
Gardner joins a group that includes the Mets’ Dillon Gee, Detroit ace Max Scherzer and the Angels’ C.J. Wilson, and the players will carry out the foundation’s message through the foundation’s educational activities in local communities, will provide input to the foundation, and will make a pledge to play clean. Hooton said there are additional plans to have the board members do personal videos to post on the Taylor Hooton Foundation web page and for having the board members wear “All Me, PED-free” T-shirts in the clubhouse (apparel that Hooton said will be available to fans as well).
“We’ve got a brand new web page,” said Hooton, whose son Taylor committed suicide in 2003, a death Don has said was related to Taylor’s steroid use. “Our objective is to make these guys real stars. They’re already stars in their own right, but these kids are going to be able to download the videos of each of these guys talking about why they feel it’s important to play clean. We think it’s got the potential to go viral.”
Hooton added that after all that has transpired with the Biogenesis saga in the past year, “the mood in the clubhouses has changed.” As for his mood with regard to Rodriguez, Hooton said he remains “disappointed,” and that he has “heard absolutely nothing” from Rodriguez since the suspension was announced.
“It’s a shame,” said Hooton.anabolic steroids > baseball > Don Hooton > education > steroids > Taylor Hooton Foundation