As we have mentioned before, the fallout from controversy involving high level athletes and celebrities often goes way beyond the personalities themselves. The collateral damage effects hordes of people who had little to nothing to do directly with the offending party, and many times that fallout…restaurants that lose income from lockouts, memorabilia deemed worthless because of off-field transgressions, donations to charity lost because of selfish mistakes…can be even more devastating to those people than the ones who are front and center in controversy. The latest example came to light this past week in the ongoing Alex Rodriguez saga. It wasn’t another player on the field indicted, or more damning evidence provided by an anonymous witness. It came in the words of a New York Post story that discussed the hundreds of thousands of dollars that a film, created for charity and geared at young people, will lose because the Yankees controversial star has to be edited out and replaced when the independent project goes to theaters.
The film is “Henry & Me,” and Rodriguez will be removed from the final version due to fears from investors that the Yankees third baseman will hurt the marketability and profitability of the picture. The animated story, based on a popular children’s book by longtime Yankees front office member, advisor and community liaison Ray Negron, tells the story of a young boy who overcomes cancer and his fears with the help of some of the Yankees brightest stars from the history. It stars Richard Gere, Chazz Palminteri and Paul Simon, along with Yogi Berra, Reggie Jackson, Bernie Williams, CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira and now Rodriguez in a wide variety of roles, and each actor in the film agreed to donate their salary from the film to their individual charities, with $2 from each DVD sale going to charity.
The film has been in development for several years and was poised to debut this fall. But Rodriguez’s role will now be switched to recently retired slugger Hideki Matsui, causing more delays and taking a big bite out of the budget that was forecast to finish the film. Rodriguez is featured in 49 sequences.
Though Rodriguez had admitted to steroid-use in his time with the Texas Rangers before being cast in the film, the film’s producers, and the Yankees, thought those issues were no longer a problem and that he was the right player for the film dedicated to former owner George Steinbrenner. The recent developments obviously changed that sentiment, and will now have reverberations way beyond the field of play, or the business scope that most may think could be pulled in to the ARod saga. A tough day for the “little guys” around The Bronx Bombers, both those involved in a worthy film and those young people who could already be enjoying and earning from a credible project, which now involves a star lacking in credibility.