According to 60 Minutes and CBS News, the Alex Rodriguez saga has a new twist.
In a story reported on Friday morning, Rodriguez's camp leaked documents to Yahoo! Sports in January implicating Milwaukee Brewers slugger Ryan Braun and Yankees teammate Francisco Cervelli as performance-enhancing drug users. The leak and subsequent Yahoo! story came in the aftermath of the original Biogenesis bombshell that implicated Rodriguez.
If the report is true, Rodriguez's word and standing in Major League Baseball clubhouses will take another hit. The idea of "snitches get stitches" is juvenile, but the thought process of implicating fellow union members, along with a teammate, for the purpose of diverting attention away from Rodriguez's own transgressions seems quite low.
On a separate note, A-Rod's case against a 211-game suspension from Major League Baseball could also be damaged here.
If Rodriguez's involvement with leaked documents to Yahoo! can be proven, baseball can argue that he violated the collective bargaining agreement and joint drug agreement in regards to implicating a fellow union member on a public forum. Despite the Biogenesis case study taking on a life of its own in the media, union members are afforded due process before suspensions and allegations are made public.
Of course, Rodriguez's lawyer, David Cornwell, denied the allegations in a statement to 60 Minutes, saying:
The allegations are untrue and are another attempt to harm Alex -- this time by driving a wedge between Alex and other players in the game. While Alex focuses on baseball and repeatedly states that he is going to respect the appeal process, the drumbeat of false allegations continues.
Using the media to swell public support or change the narrative in the court of public opinion isn't groundbreaking, but throwing a teammate and fellow union member under the proverbial bus violates the unwritten code of the clubhouse and locker room in professional sports.
At this point, it's clear that Rodriguez is disliked by many members of the sport. His ability to play through an appeal process, despite being a collective bargaining privilege negotiated by the MLBPA, has been lambasted by Tampa Bays' Evan Longoria and Boston's John Lackey. Throw in past incidents with Jason Varitek, Trot Nixon, Dallas Braden and the left side of Toronto's infield, and it adds up to a player disliked around the game.
Yet, for the most part, Rodriguez has always taken solace inside the New York Yankees clubhouse. While his relationship with Derek Jeter hasn't been wonderful, Rodriguez has taken countless young hitters under his wing, guiding them with his outstanding work ethic and love of the game of baseball.
One of those impressionable hitters: Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli.
Until the reports are verified, a denial will likely save Rodriguez from further embarrassment inside the New York clubhouse, but his future in the game, regardless of when or where he plays after the 2013 season ends, may be forever tainted.
Over the years, Rodriguez has never lacked for younger players to join him in pursuit of baseball goals. Despite the impression that the superstar was above others in the game, he genuinely seemed to enjoy the camaraderie of teammates.
If he can't be trusted, or truly outed a teammate for his own personal gain, that part of the game may be taken from Rodriguez as well.
If this new report is true, another nail in A-Rod's coffin was hammered in on Friday morning.
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