By: Michael Abitabilo
Earlier today, it was announced that Arbitrator Frederic Horowitz has reduced Alex Rodriguez’s record 211 game suspension to a full-season ban – 162 games plus any postseason games. In the wake of Arbitrator Horowitz’s decision, A-Rod released a carefully crafted statement vowing to fight what he wants us to believe is the good fight. Below is a blow-by-blow breakdown of this incredible flaming turd.
“The number of games sadly comes as no surprise, as the deck has been stacked against me from day one.
This is the first of many doozies in this statement. A-Rod has repeatedly implied that this entire process has been a farce – from MLB’s investigation to his suspension to the arbitration process – all of it, according to A-Rod, has been the product of a grand conspiracy to destroy his legacy. In the absence of any real motive for such a complicated, embarrassing and expensive conspiracy, A-Rod has creatively made this about contracts – not just his, but all players’, but more on that in a moment.
What I wonder, though, is whether A-Rod truly believes this part of his statement, or if this is all part of a larger strategy to paint himself as a victim. At first, I was convinced it was the latter – a calculated public relations effort to convince the less-informed that A-Rod just another working schlub being held down by the Man. Perhaps an outcry from MLB’s valued customers (the fans) would create sufficient pressure on MLB or Arbitrator Horowitz to reduce or lift the record suspension. But the more I see/hear A-Rod express this sentiment, the more I begin to wonder if being surrounded by highly paid yes-men has convinced A-Rod that that he actually is a victim. He’s not, by the way.
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.
I love this part. It’s where A-Rod condemns the arbitration process in its entirety. No jury! The evidence was hearsay! The problem, though, is that this is the very process that the Major League Baseball Players’ Association negotiated into its collective bargaining agreement with Major League Baseball.
A-Rod wants the public to believe that Arbitrator Horowitz was a shill for Major League Baseball, and that unlike a federal judge, he was not qualified or competent to conduct a hearing of such importance. Truth be told, Arbitrator Horowitz has been a full-time arbitrator and mediator for nearly 25 years. More importantly, that Horowitz was jointly selected by MLB and the union to serve as baseball’s lead arbitrator less than a year before A-Rod’s suspension was announced is a testament to his qualifications.
A-Rod’s implication that the system is inherently flawed is (1) an indictment on his union; and (2) wrong.
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.
This. Is. Rich. As stated above, A-Rod can’t really identify any good motive behind what he is painting as MLB/the Yankees’ relentless efforts at destroying his career and legacy. Never mind that Bud Selig/MLB would like nothing more than never to hear the word steroids associated with the sport again; never mind that the biogenesis scandal is yet another black eye on Selig’s tenure as Commissioner; never mind that A-Rod’s suspension and arbitration hearing have overshadowed the sport itself. What this comes down to, according to A-Rod, is MLB’s desire to abolish guaranteed contracts! Of course! What better way for MLB to position itself for collective bargaining two years from now than to engage in a highly public and contentious dispute with a player that could only increase tensions between the union and the league. This is classic collective bargaining strategy!
Oh, and by the way, the idea that MLB would attempt to abolish guaranteed contracts discounts the fact that the MLBPA is considered to be the most powerful union in sports, if not the world. Contractual term limits? Maybe. A salary cap? Probably not any time soon but at least an idea that can be discussed. But the notion that the MLBPA would even entertain the idea of NFL-style non-guaranteed contracts is simply absurd.
Oh and nice job at the end there once again questioning whether the arbitration process affords players an “objective review” (see above).
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.
Oh! What a cagey denial! A-Rod absolutely did not use performance enhancing substances (…..as alleged in the notice of discipline). But don’t worry, A-Rod is on his way to federal court to clear his good name where finally, a “Federal Judge” (not sure when that became a proper noun but I guess it sounds more official that way!) will have a chance to review the record. Hopefully A-Rod understands, though, that he doesn’t get a do-over in federal court. Instead, the court’s function will be to determine whether A-Rod can establish that the arbitration award should be vacated or modified in accordance with the statutory framework set forth in the Federal Arbitration Act. (For more on the standards for vacating or modifying an arbitration award, click here.) Oh, and nice job by A-Rod pointing out that his drug dealer is a bad guy. That Arbitrator Horowitz credited the drug dealer’s testimony (and records) MUST be evidence of corruption!
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.
What an honorable slugger! He is fighting the fight not just for himself, but for generations of cheaters after him!
But seriously, A-Rod’s martyr syndrome demonstrates a staggering lack of accountability. Whether you believe A-Rod took PEDs or not, A-Rod remains unwilling or unable to recognize that he is responsible for putting himself in this position. In light of his 2009 admission that he took steroids in the early 2000s, wouldn’t it have been prudent to avoid any and all contact with a “criminal” who “dealt drugs to minors”?
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.”
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Mike Abitabilo defended A-Rod for years, but just can’t anymore.