Amid steroid sanctions, Obama says athletes' duty is to be role models

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As a presidential candidate, Obama said that he opposed congressional investigations into steroid use by pro athletes — a hobby horse for his then-opponent Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

"I gotta admit that seeing a lot of congressional hearings around steroid use is not probably the best use of congressional time," Obama told ESPN Radio at the time.

But when asked in 2009 about Rodriguez — who has previously admitted to using anabolic steroids — Obama called the news "depressing."

"If you’re a fan of Major League Baseball, I think it tarnishes an entire era to some degree," Obama said. "And it’s unfortunate, because I think there are a lot of ballplayers who played it straight."

The president again reiterated that he was "most concerned about … the message that it sends to our kids."

"What I’m pleased about is Major League Baseball seems to finally be taking this seriously, to recognize how big of a problem this is for the sport, and that our kids, hopefully, are watching and saying ‘You know what? There are no short cuts,’ " Obama said. "That when you try to take short cuts, you may end up tarnishing your entire career. And your integrity’s not worth it. That’s the message I hope is communicated.”