Banning Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Braun from MLB Forever Is Nothing but a Pipe Dream
According to a tweet from ESPN sports business reporter Darren Rovell, Major League Baseball may be preparing to attempt to ban Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun from baseball for life.
They would need to prove that each violation, from association with Biogenesis to past transgressions to lack of cooperation in the current investigation, is a separate violation of the sport's rules against performance-enhancing drugs.
While there will undoubtedly be throngs of fans who are in full support of the bold strategy, it's far-fetched at best. Until Braun and/or Rodriguez fail a drug test and, of course, that drug test is upheld after an appeal, neither has that distinction on their ledger.
Rodriguez, during his admission to performance-enhancing drug use in a 2009 press conference, admitted to failing a test during the 2003 survey testing. Of course, that test was supposed to be used for survey purposes and nothing more. In a way, it worked. Enough players, including Rodriguez, tested positive, forcing baseball's hand in 2004 to put in true testing with penalties.
Despite his guilt in the public eye, Rodriguez has never failed a test that counted.
Technicalities asides, neither has the 2011 NL MVP. While his testosterone levels were detected at a high level during a 2011 test, the results were not held up by an arbitrator after a tampering appeal was conducted.
Over the years, the Major League Baseball Players Association has worked with baseball to rid the sport of cheating and place penalties upon their members who break the drug agreement, but it must be in compliance with the rules and regulations.
Simply put, players are not required to answer questions or meet with the commissioner's office about scandals or legal matters. In most cases, as with Rodriguez and Braun here, it's in the best interest of the player to meet but not speak or answer most questions due to legal and contractual ramifications.
Suspending either A-Rod or Braun for life is almost too unbelievable to fathom, especially when their worst transgressions seems to stem from skirting the testing system, rather than factual evidence of failed tests.
That hasn't stopped Bill Madden, an award-winning columnist for the New York Daily News, from purporting that Rodriguez will never play an inning of baseball for the Yankees again.
Considering his rehab assignment will be finished by the end of the month, Madden either has sources telling him this inside baseball or he's gone mad. Assuming it's the former, those within the offices of the Yankees or baseball could believe this process will commence.
The attempt to purport lifetime bans will likely be shot down quickly, but it does profile as an "all-in" route for the sport, allowing the bargaining process to entice either superstar to negotiate down to a more manageable 50- or 100-game suspension.
In baseball or life, the punishment must fit the crime. Unfortunately for baseball, the crime here is subjective and conjecture, based on the testimony of a quack doctor from a strip mall in Miami. Until baseball can document multiple failed drug tests from Rodriguez or Braun, the idea of a lifetime suspension is nothing but a Bud Selig pipe dream.
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