The ongoing drama between Alex Rodriguez and Major League Baseball has taken a new twist. The New York Yankees third baseman filed a lawsuit against the league and the players’ union on Monday, Jan. 13, according to The Associated Press on Twitter:
BREAKING: Alex Rodriguez sues Major League Baseball, players’ union to overturn season-long suspension.
— The Associated Press (@AP) January 13, 2014
Ronald Blum and Larry Neumeister of the Associated Press provided a full report on the situation, including this excerpt:
As part of the lawsuit filed in federal court in Manhattan, the New York Yankees third baseman made public Saturday’s 33-page decision by arbitrator Fredric Horowitz, who shortened a penalty originally set at 211 games last August by baseball Commissioner Bud Selig for violations of the sport’s drug agreement and labor contract.
“While this length of suspension may be unprecedented for a MLB player, so is the misconduct he committed,” Horowitz wrote in his decision Saturday.
ESPN’s T.J. Quinn quoted ESPN legal analyst Lester Munson’s thoughts on A-Rod’s chances:
My man Lester Munson, ESPN legal analyst, isn’t mincing words: ARod’s lawsuit has “zero” chance of success.
— T.J. Quinn (@TJQuinnESPN) January 13, 2014
On Jan. 11, arbitrator Fredric Horowitz ruled for Rodriguez to be suspended for the entire 2014 season, a reduced penalty as the MLB had been seeking a 211-game ban after coming upon evidence that Rodriguez not only acquired illegal performance-enhancing drugs, but also attempted to impeded the league’s investigation, according to MLB.com’s Paul Hagen.
Yankees beat writer Daniel Barbarisi broke down Rodriguez’s argument in a series of tweets:
ESPN senior baseball writer Buster Olney responded to the news with a healthy dose of sarcasm:
MLB released the following statement in the wake of Horowitz’s ruling on Jan. 11, per Hagen:
For more than five decades, the arbitration process under the Basic Agreement has been a fair and effective mechanism for resolving disputes and protecting player rights. While we believe the original 211-game suspension was appropriate, we respect the decision rendered by the Panel and will focus on our continuing efforts on eliminating performance-enhancing substances from our game.
The 38-year-old Rodriguez has been at the center of the Biogenesis scandal since January 2013, when an investigation was launched into Anthony Bosch’s anti-aging clinic in South Florida. Multiple professional players had been linked to the clinic, which was believed to be supplying synthetic testosterone and human grown hormone, according to documents.
Rodriguez was one of several players linked to Bosch and the clinic but was the only player who appealed his suspension.
Unsurprisingly, Rodriguez’s attorney, Joseph Tacopina, denied the allegations against his client when asked whether Rodriguez bribed Bosch in an effort to keep the evidence against him hidden during a “60 Minutes” interview that aired on Jan. 12, per ESPN.com:
Absolutely not. He didn’t bribe anyone. There was no allegation that he bribed anyone. And the notion that Bosch is now coming on a television interview without the benefit of cross-examination or an oath — is laughable.
While the MLB’s and Rodriguez’s reputations are both at stake in this case, the bigger issue for now is the $22 million in 2014 salary that the slugger stands to lose if his suspension is upheld. Given the severity of the allegations and the hefty amount remaining on Rodriguez’s current contract, the Yankees would certainly benefit financially from a long-term suspension.
If upheld, Rodriguez’s 162-game suspension would be the longest drug suspension and non-lifetime suspension in the history of Major League Baseball.
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