After months of waiting, a federal prosecutor ruled that Alex Rodriguez will be suspended for 162 games and will not be allowed to participate in the postseason should the New York Yankees qualify. Rodriguez was originally suspended during the summer along with 12 other Major League Baseball players, but was the only one to fight back in what turned out to be an ugly fight between the former MVP, MLB and the Yankees.
Rodriguez was originally suspended for 211 games. Those games broke down to 50 for a performance enhancing drug violation and another 161 for impeding the MLB investigation. Despite being reduced, the suspension is still the longest in the history of the sport for a PED offense, but the 38-year-old is not going down with a fight. In a statement released on behalf of Rodriguez through Ron Berkowitz, he said:
“The number of games sadly comes as no surprise, as the deck has been stacked against me from day one. This is one man’s decision, that was not put before a fair and impartial jury, does not involve me having failed a single drug test, is at odds with the facts and is inconsistent with the terms of the Joint Drug Agreement and the Basic Agreement, and relies on testimony and documents that would never have been allowed in any court in the United States because they are false and wholly unreliable. This injustice is MLB’s first step toward abolishing guaranteed contracts in the 2016 bargaining round, instituting lifetime bans for single violations of drug policy, and further insulating its corrupt investigative program from any variety defense by accused players, or any variety of objective review.
I have been clear that I did not use performance enhancing substances as alleged in the notice of discipline, or violate the Basic Agreement or the Joint Drug Agreement in any manner, and in order to prove it I will take this fight to federal court. I am confident that when a Federal Judge reviews the entirety of the record, the hearsay testimony of a criminal whose own records demonstrate that he dealt drugs to minors, and the lack of credible evidence put forth by MLB, that the judge will find that the panel blatantly disregarded the law and facts, and will overturn the suspension. No player should have to go through what I have been dealing with, and I am exhausting all options to ensure not only that I get justice, but that players’ contracts and rights are protected through the next round of bargaining, and that the MLB investigation and arbitration process cannot be used against others in the future the way it is currently being used to unjustly punish me.
I will continue to work hard to get back on the field and help the Yankees achieve the ultimate goal of winning another championship. I want to sincerely thank my family, all of my friends, and of course the fans and many of my fellow MLB players for the incredible support I received throughout this entire ordeal.”
If Rodriguez’s attempt to stop the suspension fails, it may signal the end of his professional career. Injuries have caused many problems for him in the past several years and his once-Hall of Fame-worthy play has been diminished in the process. Let’s not forget that the Yankees would likely love nothing better than rid themselves of the $61 million they owe him between 2015 and 2017. At least they will be able to save $25 million this season.
As someone who loves the sport of baseball, seeing this whole situation unravel is upsetting. What isn’t upsetting is seeing those that continue to try and get a leg up on the competition get caught and reprimanded. Should Rodriguez never play again on a MLB field, I won’t miss him and doubt many will.