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By Sarah Armaghan, Michael E. Miller and Corky Siemaszko, DAILY NEWS
February 10, 2009

A-Rod, your name is mud – for now.

A day after Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez made the stunning admission that he used steroids, top image consultants said his reputation is not beyond repair.

“His trust factor is zero right now,” Florida-based Gloria Starr said. “He only confessed because he was caught.”

Coming clean, however, was a smart first step, Starr said.

“Now, I believe his next step is to begin doing events where he is speaking to the youth of America about the dangers of steroids, things like that,” said Starr. “He has to do 100 times more backpedaling.”

Barbara Laskin, President of Laskin Media in Manhattan,said A-Rod’s consultants probably told him not to do what ex-Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens did, which was to not just deny steroid use but aggressively attack his accuser.

“I mean, it hasn’t gone away for Clemens,” she said. “If he hadn’t said anything it would have been worse. The bottom line is, in terms of the public landscape, Rodriquez certainly did himself a favor by being relatively forthright.”

And the strategy may work, said Laskin. “This may set him free,” she said. “I think this is the road to recovery. This will do him a lot of good, if it is indeed the truth.”

Sandy Dumont, a former model and image consultant, said Rodriguez is lucky he’s “a pretty boy.”

“We forgive beautiful people,” said Dumont, who is based in Norfolk, Va. “He stands a better chance of being forgiven by the guy on the street.”

Dumont said the Rodriguez saga has echoes of another public relations train wreck named Britney Spears. “Slowly, she’s been able to come back in the public eye by doing what she does best,” she said. “Alex Rodriguez can do the same.”

On the street, there was a faint measure of forgiveness amid the fury of still-seething Yankees fans.

“I have more respect for him the way he handled his mistake,” said Adam Kramer, 31, a MetLife employee on his lunch break in Manhattan. “What he did was wrong, but he manned up, which was the prudent move.”

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