A-Rod sues MLB, union over 2014 ban
New York, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - A desperate Alex Rodriguez and his legal team filed suit in Manhattan's U.S. District Court Monday in an effort to have his 162-game suspension for performance-enhancing drug use overturned.
The disgraced New York Yankees third baseman named both Major League Baseball and the Players Association as defendants in the 42-page document, arguing that the Commissioner's Office violated the collective bargaining agreement with its pursuit of the suspension and that the union did not properly perform its duty to fairly represent his case.
Rodriguez's complaint also made public Saturday's ruling by arbitrator Fredric Horowitz, who reduced the star slugger's original ban from 211 games to 162 but prohibited him from playing in any regular-season or postseason games in 2014. Rodriguez's attorneys argued that the verdict should be dismissed on the grounds that Horowitz's decision was not consistent with the terms of the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program and that he showed "evident partiality" to Commissioner Bud Selig during his review.
The document describes Horowitz as "somewhere between a casual fan and a junkie when it comes to baseball" and stated that he has "personal incentives to maintain his position as the neutral arbitrator for all MLB/MLBPA arbitrations by doing MLB's bidding."
Rodriguez's counsel cited MLB's firing of Horowitz's predecessor, Shyam Das, after he overturned a 50-game suspension for Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun in 2012.
"Das' firing sent a clear signal to future arbitrators that job security is contingent upon favorable rulings for MLB," the complaint stated.
Rodriguez's team also argued that Horowitz denied their client due process by refusing to let them cross-examine both Selig and Biogenesis of America founder Anthony Bosch, whose testimony stating that Rodriguez knowingly purchased PED's from his since-closed anti-aging clinic provided the basis for the three-time American League MVP's suspension. The attorneys also alleged that they were prevented from examining BlackBerry devices that contained text correspondences between Rodriguez and Bosch, and accused Horowitz of allowing MLB to leak confidential information regarding the case to the media.
The complaint also accused MLB of violating the confidentiality clause in the Joint Drug Agreement by publicly releasing the substances (testosterone and Human Growth Hormone) that led to Rodriguez's initial 211-game ban.
Rodriguez's attorneys also chastised the players union for its failure to intervene in what they deemed "harassing and unethical investigatory conduct perpetrated by MLB" during its investigation of Rodriguez and other players involved in the Biogenesis scandal.
"In the face of such overwhelming wrongdoing by MLB and in response to Mr. Rodriguez's pleas, MLBPA took no action to stem MLB's rampant misconduct with respect to the Biogenesis Suit," said the complaint.
Following the news of the lawsuit, MLBPA executive director Tony Clark issued a statement refuting Rodriguez's claims:
"The Players Association has vigorously defended Mr. Rodriguez's rights throughout the Biogenesis investigation, and indeed throughout his career," said Clark. "Mr. Rodriguez's allegation that the Association has failed to fairly represent him is outrageous, and his gratuitous attacks on our former Executive Director, Michael Weiner, are inexcusable. When all is said and done, I am confident the Players Association will prevail."
In his ruling, Horowitz concluded that "MLB has demonstrated with clear and convincing evidence there is just cause to suspend Rodriguez for the 2014 season and 2014 postseason for having violated the JDA by the use and/or possession of testosterone, IGF-1 and HGH over the course of three years.
"While this length of suspension may be unprecedented for a MLB player, so is the misconduct he committed," Horowitz wrote.
Rodriguez's suit also comes one day after CBS ran an interview with Bosch on its "60 Minutes" program, in which the former Biogenesis founder detailed his relationship with Rodriguez and admitted to supplying the 14-time All-Star with various banned substances.
01/13 20:29:55 ET