Pete Rose believes players who use steroids commit a transgression far worse than his admitted betting on the game, but Major League Baseball's disgraced hit king said he'd back an admitted user like Alex Rodriguez for the Hall of Fame.
Rodriguez said in February that he used performance-enhancing drugs while playing for the Texas Rangers during a three-year period beginning in 2001.
"I'm willing to give a guy a second chance," Rose said in an interview on "The Dan Patrick Show." He later went on to say that steroid use is worse than someone such as himself betting on his own team to win.
Rose was banned from baseball in 1989 for betting on games while managing the Cincinnati Reds. The 68-year-old Rose is not eligible to be on the Hall of Fame ballot.
"When you take steroids you have a direct outcome of the game," Rose said. "That's the integrity of the game. And when you can change records when you do something illegal, it's just not right. ... Baseball records are sacred. If you do something illegal to surpass those records, it's just not good."
Rose, however, considers Barry Bonds to be the all-time home run king because "he hit the home runs. ... I don't think anyone has proven that he took steroids."
Bonds long has been shadowed by allegations that he used performance-enhancing drugs and was indicted in 2007 for perjury and obstruction of justice for telling a federal grand jury he did not knowingly use PEDs.
He hit the last of his MLB-record 762 home runs in 2007.
"With Bonds, how many home runs are you going to take away from him?" Rose asked. "That's a tough situation for the commissioner. ... It's a mess."