Alex Rodriguez (known as A-Rod) is one of baseball’s richest and most successful athletes. His stellar career has been marred by charges that he used performance-enhancing drugs. They are commonly called steroids.
He admitted he used the drugs when he played for the Texas Rangers years ago. He said he has been clean since then. Major League baseball does not agree. It suspended him for 211 games, starting next season. Experts think the suspension is likely to end his career.
The controversy stems from an investigation of Biogenesis, an anti-aging clinic. A-Rod has fought the suspension. Hearings with an arbitrator were held in Manhattan last week. A decision is not likely for several months.
The situation took a new turn this week. Rodriguez sued Major League Baseball and the Commissioner Budd Selig. He accused them of pursuing “vigilante justice” as part of a “witch hunt.” He says the purpose of the suspension is to smear his character and cost him millions of dollars.
The Rodriquez lawsuit seeks compensatory and punitive damages for what it calls a campaign by the league and Selig to “destroy the reputation and career of Alex Rodriguez.”
It is a war. The league shot back that A-Rod was “desperate” and that he had violated confidentiality agreements. Rodriguez’s lawyer replied that the violation claim by the league was “preposterous.”
Both sides are making charges of payoffs, bribes, misrepresented information, and lying.
What is at stake? As part of a $275 million, 10 year contract, Rodriquez is owed $25 million next year, $21 million in 2015, and $20 million in each of the final two seasons of his contract. And, he can earn $30 million in bonuses for reaching milestones such as home run records.
No wonder the average baseball fan sometimes leans back in a chair and says, “Wasn’t this supposed to be a game?”