"I would have done it, too," Rivera said Thursday during a ceremony in New York City to rename a section of Broadway "Mariano Rivera Way" for one day. "Everybody has to defend themselves. In a situation like that, it's hard. We're still human beings.
"He has a right to defend himself, that's all I can tell you."
Rodriguez is currently embroiled in a battle with Major League Baseball, which has levied a 211-game suspension against the third baseman for his alleged involvement with performance-enhancing drugs connected to the Biogenesis case. Rodriguez stormed out of the hearing on Wednesday, then took his plea to the public, appearing for a lengthy interview on WFAN, where he declared his innocence.
The non-confrontational Rivera isn't speculating about the possibility that A-Rod used PEDs and said he believes Rodriguez.
"I don't want to second-guess no one," he said. "If he tells me something, I'm going to believe him. But again, that's me. He's my friend. He tells me something, I'm going to believe him."
If the retired Rivera's unsolicited support was a sign he is planning to continue working with the Yankees in some capacity, the Hall of Fame closer offered a plain-and-simple, "No."
When asked why, Rivera laughed.
"I don't want to," he said.