Alex Rodriguez Sues MLB Over ‘Witch Hunt’
By Chris Dolmetsch & Mason Levinson – Oct 4, 2013 1:40 PM ET
Alex Rodriguez, the New York Yankees’ third baseman, sued Major League Baseball and Commissioner Bud Selig, accusing them of attempting to destroy his reputation and career in their crackdown on performance-enhancing substances.
Rodriguez, 38, filed a complaint yesterday in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan, accusing Selig and MLB of singling him out for an “unprecedented” 211-game suspension, the “longest non-permanent ban in baseball history.”
Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees works out on the field before the game against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park in Houston on on Sept. 27, 2013. Photographer: Scott Halleran/Getty Images
Selig and MLB engaged in “vigilante justice” during a probe of Coral Gables, Florida-based anti-aging clinic Biogenesis of America, ignored procedures set forth in labor agreements, including confidentiality provisions, and paid millions of dollars for documents and testimony, Rodriguez said in his complaint. MLB “bullied and intimidated” people who “refused to cooperate with their witch hunt,” he said.
“Commissioner Selig and MLB persistently have employed powers not available to them under the collectively bargained agreements between MLB and its union in order to make an example of Mr. Rodriguez, so as to gloss over Commissioner Selig’s past inaction and tacit approval of the use of performance-enhancing substances in baseball (not to mention his multiple acts of collusion) and in an attempt to secure his legacy as the ‘savior’ of America’s pastime,” Rodriguez said in the complaint.
Major League Baseball said in a statement that the lawsuit is a “clear violation” of confidentiality provisions of its drug program and “nothing more than a desperate attempt to circumvent the collective bargaining agreement.”
“While we vehemently deny the allegations in the complaint, none of those allegations is relevant to the real issue: whether Mr. Rodriguez violated the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program by using and possessing numerous forms of prohibited performance-enhancing substances, including testosterone and human growth hormone, over the course of multiple years and whether he violated the basic agreement by attempting to cover up his violations of the program,” MLB said.
Selig said when he announced the discipline on Aug. 5 that Rodriguez used testosterone and human growth hormone for “multiple years” and tried to “obstruct and frustrate” baseball’s investigation.
Rodriguez was allowed to play as he appeals the suspension. He has acknowledged taking performance-enhancing drugs as a member of the Texas Rangers from 2001 to 2003, and denied any use after that.
Rodriguez, who is seeking compensatory and punitive damages, just finished the sixth season of a 10-year, $275 million contract, the largest in baseball. He was activated from the disabled list the day the suspension was announced in August and hit .244 with seven home runs in 44 games this season.
A three-time American League Most Valuable Player, Rodriguez is fifth on MLB’s career list with 654 home runs, six behind Hall of Fame outfielder Willie Mays.
Rodriguez’s ban is supported by 72 percent of U.S. sports fans, with almost half of those saying he should be kicked out of the game for life, according to a poll by Seton Hall University.
Rodriguez’s suit accuses Major League Baseball of filing a “sham” lawsuit in Florida to get information about players, then continuing to seek the information after his suspension and procuring settlements with other players “in a desperate attempt to gather evidence that will retroactively justify their unprecedented punishments,” according to the complaint.
MLB agreed not to pursue claims against Biogenesis owner Anthony Bosch in exchange for his cooperation in testifying and providing evidence against players, Rodriguez said in the complaint.
MLB is paying Bosch $5 million in monthly installments in exchange for his cooperation, Rodriguez said in the complaint, citing unidentified people familiar with the deal. MLB provided Bosch with personal security, is paying his legal fees and has promised to indemnify him for any civil liability that might stem from his cooperation, according to Rodriguez.
Bosch hasn’t been paid “$5, let alone $5 million,” a spokeswoman for Bosch, Joyce Fitzpatrick, said in a phone interview.
“He will not be paid,” Fitzpatrick said. “Has not been nor will be paid.”
The case is Rodriguez v. Major League Baseball, 653436/2013, New York State Supreme Court, New York County (Manhattan).