Latest Updates on Alex Rodriguez's Appeal for Biogenesis Suspension
Updates from Friday, Nov. 22:
Alex Rodriguez had glowing words for his legal team at the conclusion of his appeal hearing, according to ESPN's Wallace Matthews:
"We crushed it," Rodriguez said. "They had nothing."
But his elation with his lawyers was tempered somewhat by the realization that his fate now lies in the hands of arbitrator Fredric Horowitz.
"Now that's it's over, as far as the state of the case, how the evidence went in, how my team challenged it, I feel great," he said. "The only thing that concerns me is the process."
Already, Rodriguez's legal team, led by Joseph Tacopina, is planning its next move -- obtaining an injunction to prevent a suspension from being implemented -- because despite Rodriguez's optimism, his lawyers seem resigned to the reality that Horowitz will mete out some form of punishment.
"I firmly believe Alex should get a goose-egg here, but Horowitz has to be prepared for this to be his last arbitration to do that," said Jordan Siev, one of his attorneys. "But do I think he would have the courage to give him a goose-egg? I'd like to think so, but I frankly can't imagine Alex walks out of there with nothing."
Updates from Thursday, Nov. 21:
Ronald Blum of the Associated Press reports that Rodriguez's hearing resumed today—without the slugger present (report via Yahoo! Sports):
Alex Rodriguez's lawyers were back at his arbitration hearing without him Thursday, a day after he added a different kind of walk-off to go along with the 11 game-ending hits in his big league career.
While the attorneys were at Major League Baseball's office, it wasn't clear yet if it was to wrap up the hearing or to proceed with more testimony.
The New York Yankees star walked out in the middle of a session Wednesday, furious that arbitrator Fredric Horowitz refused to order baseball Commissioner Bud Selig to testify. The move, followed by angry statements accusing Selig of bias and the entire arbitration process of flaws, appeared to be a prelude to a lawsuit challenging whatever ruling Horowitz makes on A-Rod's 211-game suspension.
As the hearing proceeds without him, Rodriguez's legal team went on the offensive, via Wallace Matthews of ESPN New York:
At the same time, A-Rod's attorneys signaled their lack of faith in the proceedings by vowing to "release all of the evidence" on Friday and preparing to take the case into federal court regardless of how Horowitz rules.
"We're going to open up everything," said Ron Berkowitz, a spokesman for Rodriguez. "We're going to show everything we have to the press so they can show it to the American public."
Presumably, that means transcripts of witness testimony, sworn affidavits and whatever information was supplied to the Rodriguez team by a "whistle-blower" who allegedly works for Major League Baseball but is said to be sympathetic to A-Rod's side and objects to the way baseball conducted its investigation.
"There's very important stuff that has not been heard," Jim McCarroll, a Rodriguez lawyer, said on a radio show Wednesday.
Updates from Wednesday, Nov. 20:
According to a report from Wallace Matthews of ESPN New York, Rodriguez walked out of his appeal hearing today and is "disgusted":
Horowitz was in the midst of the 12th day of hearings Wednesday on the grievance filed by the players' association to overturn the 211-game suspension given to Rodriguez by Major League Baseball last summer for alleged violations of the sport's drug agreement and labor contract.
Rodriguez says in a statement: "I am disgusted with this abusive process." He adds that "the absurdity and injustice just became too much. I walked out and will not participate any further in this farce."
Matthews followed up on Twitter with some of A-Rod's feelings toward MLB's chief operating officer, Rob Manfred:
Amended: A-Rod told Manfred he's "full of (expletive)''. You figure it out— wallace matthews (@ESPNNYYankees) November 20, 2013
Matthews then further clarified the statements:
From @jcrasnick A-Rod didn't say Manfred was "full of s***. He said, "This is f*****g b******t!'' Much better, don't you think?— wallace matthews (@ESPNNYYankees) November 20, 2013
Matthews also provides lawyer Joe Tacopina's thoughts:
Taco: This was a frustrating day. Today was not supposed to go like this— wallace matthews (@ESPNNYYankees) November 20, 2013
Taco: How can Bud Selig not have the courage to face Alex look him in the eye and explain why he is suspended for 211 games?— wallace matthews (@ESPNNYYankees) November 20, 2013
Andy McCullough of The Star-Ledger has more from Tacopina:
Tacopina suggests Ryan Braun's 65-game suspension was much smaller than A-Rod's because of Selig's connections with the Brewers.— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughSL) November 20, 2013
Rodriguez then went on Mike Francesa's radio show to talk about the hearing (via McCullough and Matthews):
A-Rod says he never did PEDs or obstructed justice. Says he is innocent. "I feel like I should be there on Opening Day."— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughSL) November 20, 2013
A-Rod to Selig: "I know you don't like New York. But you've got to come face me. This is my whole life. This is my legacy."— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughSL) November 20, 2013
Alex admits he is "angry'' at the Yankees— wallace matthews (@ESPNNYYankees) November 20, 2013
Updates from Thursday, Nov. 14
Rodriguez was supposed to speak with MLB on Friday for a hearing on his appeal, but according to Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports, the hearing will be delayed:
Source: A-Rod has informed MLB that he will be unable to meet with its officials in NY tomorrow. He is ill.— Tim Brown (@TBrownYahoo) November 15, 2013
In a nutshell, A-Rod has to answer questions from MLB before he testifies at his arbitration hearing, schedded to resume Monday.— Tim Brown (@TBrownYahoo) November 15, 2013
Alex Rodriguez's legal team has attacked Major League Baseball, saying the league has tried to use the Yankees star to improve perception, per the Associated Press (via ESPN). The comments were made at a hearing pertaining to Rodriguez's pending lawsuit against Commissioner Bud Selig and the league.
Attorney Jordan Siev made the remarks at an initial conference Thursday before federal Judge Lorna Schofield in Manhattan. He says the league and its commissioner, Bud Selig, went "way over the line" as they tried to get A-Rod "at all costs." The New York Yankees star was not at the hearing.
MLB lawyer Joseph Baumgarten told Schofield the lawsuit is "inappropriate."
Ken Davidoff of the New York Post reports one of Alex Rodriguez's advisors wants MLB investigators to be investigated in their own right for potential federal crimes:
Lanny Davis, an adviser to Team A-Rod who is best known for serving as special counsel to President Bill Clinton from 1996-98, issued a scathing indictment of MLB. Not surprisingly, MLB returned volley with equally biting words.
“Commissioner [Bud] Selig is the trustee of our national pastime,” Davis’ statement read. “… I repeat my request that U.S. authorities should initiate an investigation as to whether any federal crimes have been committed by MLB investigators as well as those in the Commissioner’s office who may have been complicit in this misconduct — for example, in the purchase of stolen documents; or whether MLB filed information with the IRS that federal law requires for this type of a commercial transaction involving $125,000 in cash.”
Davidoff also provided MLB's response to such a suggestion:
Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association have collectively bargained agreements that govern drug suspensions and the drug suspension of Alex Rodriguez. The Arbitration Panel will determine the relevance, if any, and validity of Mr. Davis’s baseless claims if and when Mr. Rodriguez lawyers attempt to present actual evidence as opposed to unfounded speculation.
Mr. Davis has no standing on this matter or any issue in Baseball. To the extent he has any information regarding this grievance, he has obtained it improperly because he is not the counsel of record in this matter. We do note that Mr. Davis has nothing to say about the central issue: that Alex Rodriguez violated the joint drug agreement by his use and possession of numerous forms of prohibited performance-enhancing substances over the course of multiple years and violated the Basic Agreement for attempting to cover-up his violations of the Program by engaging in a course of conduct intended to obstruct and frustrate the Office of the Commissioner’s investigation.
According to Steve Eder, Serge F. Kovaleski and Michael S. Schmidt of The New York Times, Rodriguez failed a previously unreported drug test:
According to people involved with baseball's antidoping program, he failed a drug test for stimulants in 2006, a previously undisclosed charge.
Lanny J. Davis, a member of Rodriguez's legal team, released a statement on the report (via ESPN):
The ethically questionable and possibly illegal misconduct of Major League Baseball in its investigation of Alex Rodriguez -- such as the knowing purchase of stolen documents for $125,000 in cash in a satchel in a Florida restaurant and putting in a good word with prosecutors for someone reportedly under federal and state investigation for distributing drugs to teenagers in the name of getting Alex Rodriguez -- is not just unseemly, it is shameful.
I believe a federal investigation of this misconduct is needed -- and specifically, of the commissioner of baseball and the extent of his involvement and knowledge of the professional misconduct by investigators he hired, as reported by The New York Times.
ESPN's Andrew Marchand has the latest:
MLB's chief operating officer and the favorite to be the next commissioner, Rob Manfred, called A-Rod's career "sad" and "tarnished."
"This latest, sad chapter in Mr. Rodriguez's tarnished career is yet another example of this player trying to avoid taking responsibility for his poor choices," Manfred said. "Given the disappointing acts that Mr. Rodriguez has repeatedly made throughout his career, his expressed concern for young people rings very hollow. Mr. Rodriguez's use of PEDs was longer and more pervasive than any other player, and when this process is complete, the facts will prove that it is Mr. Rodriguez and his representatives who have engaged in ongoing, gross misconduct."
Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York has the latest on Rodriguez:
Getting into the holiday spirit, this one uses the term "house of horrors" as it attacks MLB and commissioner Bud Selig for standing behind the investigation that resulted in Rodriguez's 211-game suspension.
“I am deeply troubled by my team's investigative findings with respect to MLB's conduct," Rodriguez said in a statement released through his spokesman. "How can the gross, ongoing misconduct of the MLB investigations division not be relevant to my suspension, when my suspension supposedly results directly from that division's work?
“It is sad that Commissioner Selig once again is turning a blind eye, knowing that crimes are being committed under his regime. I have 100% faith in my legal team. To be sure, this fight is necessary to protect me, but it also serves the interests of the next 18-year-old coming into the league, to be sure he doesn't step into the house of horrors that I am being forced to walk through.”
Teri Thompson and Michael O'Keeffe of the New York Daily News report Major League Baseball is looking to acquire documents on Ryan Braun and Francisco Cervelli reportedly leaked by Alex Rodriguez's camp:
A public relations firm hired by Alex Rodriguez leaked documents to Yahoo! Sports in February linking Milwaukee Brewers star Ryan Braun and Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli to the Biogenesis doping ring, according to documents filed by Major League Baseball in Manhattan Supreme Court Tuesday.
“To date, MLB has received neither responsive documents from Sitrick & Co., nor an affidavit from Mr. Sitrick certifying that he and the company has or ever had the documents in question,” according to the petition. “The testimony of Mr. Sitrick is necessary to establish whether Rodriguez or his representatives have or had documents relevant to MLB’s allegations in the arbitration in their possession and when these documents were obtained.”
An Associated Press report, via ESPN.com, reports MLB is hoping for a quick dismissal of Alex Rodriguez's lawsuit:
Lawyers for Major League Baseball are seeking a speedy dismissal of an Alex Rodriguez lawsuit accusing the league and commissioner Bud Selig of trying to drive him out of baseball, according to a letter sent to a judge Monday.
U.S. District Judge Lorna G. Schofield in Manhattan agreed that lawyers on both sides could make their formal requests by Nov. 8. A hearing is scheduled for a day earlier.
Jordan Siev, a lawyer for Rodriguez, wrote in a joint letter to the judge from lawyers on both sides that MLB lawyers planned to ask that the lawsuit be dismissed.
In the lawsuit, Rodriguez accused the league and Selig of going on a "witch hunt" designed to force him out of the game.
Wallace Matthews of ESPNewYork.com provides a statement from Alex Rodriguez's lawyer Joe Tacopina:
Rodriguez' lawyer, Joe Tacopina, told CNN that Rodriguez paid more than $300,000 to obtain evidence relating to baseball's investigation into the Biogenesis scandal.
Tacopina also told CNN that his client "absolutely'' did not use illegal PEDs supplied to him by Biogenesis or its proprietor, Anthony Bosch, who is now baseball's star witness against the Yankees third baseman.
"And Major League Baseball does not have any evidence that he has,'' Tacopina said.
Matthews later provides additional details surrounding Rodriguez's current battle with Major League Baseball:
In a further twist to a battle that grows nastier and more bizarre by the day, a source told ESPNNewYork.com that $200,000 of A-Rod's money went to the same man Major League Baseball had previously paid $150,000 to for the records that allegedly link Rodriguez to the now-shuttered Coral Gables, Fla. clinic suspected of supplying PEDs to ballplayers.
According to the source, who spoke to ESPNNewYork.com on condition of anonymity due to the confidentiality agreement regarding the proceedings stipulated in baseball's collective bargaining agreement, A-Rod spent $200,000 to buy a surreptitiously recorded videotape of the transaction in which an MLB investigator paid Gary Jones for the records in which Rodriguez' name allegedly appears.
Matthews follows with more details on evidence Rodriguez reportedly purchased:
According to the source, Rodriguez also spent $105,000 to obtain text messages between Dan Mullin, an MLB investigator, and a female Biogenesis employee with whom the A-Rod side alleged in the lawsuit he was having an affair.
It was the first public acknowledgement that Rodriguez had, indeed, bought evidence in the case, although not, according to the source, for the purpose alleged by baseball.
Both purchases, said the source, were to be used as evidence in Rodriguez' lawsuit for tortious interference against baseball and its commissioner, Bud Selig, and not to obstruct the investigation against him or to affect the outcome of his grievance hearing.
"It has nothing to do with the hearing,'' said the source, "and everything to do with the lawsuit.''
Rodriguez made both purchases "within the past month,'' according to the source, in conjunction with the filing of the lawsuit in U.S. District Court on Oct. 3.
UPDATE: Tuesday, Oct. 15
Teri Thompson, Michael O'Keeffe, Christian Red and Nathaniel Vinton of the New York Daily News are reporting that Alex Rodriguez's lawyer Joseph Tacopina went on the offensive, questioning Anthony Bosch's creditably.
Tacopina's actions allegedly made for a heated exchange with Julio Ayala, one of Bosch's lawyers:
According to several sources with knowledge of the altercation, Tacopina instigated a confrontation with Julio Ayala, one of the Miami attorneys who represent Anthony Bosch, the proprietor of the now-defunct Biogenesis clinic that was a source of performance-enhancing drugs for more than a dozen big leaguers—and MLB’s chief witness.
During the first week of the arbitration, the sources say, Tacopina launched an aggressive attack on Bosch’s credibility after Bosch authenticated a pile of documents and electronic communications that MLB says reflect the league’s conclusion that Rodriguez acquired banned substances from Bosch over several years. It was during a break in one of those tense sessions that Tacopina and Ayala nearly came to blows.
The report says that the confrontation stemmed from the length of Anthony Bosch's testimony during the hearing, an argument that quickly turned personal:
Tacopina, a former hockey player who holds the Skidmore College record for most penalty minutes in a season, then made a derogatory statement about Ayala and “his lying wife,” Susy Ribero-Ayala, another attorney representing Bosch, angering Julio Ayala. Tacopina then “bull-rushed” Ayala, who went toe-to-toe with Tacopina, in the words of one source.
Ayala, a former high school football player, stood his ground, but other attorneys restrained Tacopina before any punches were thrown. Eventually, the two men calmed down and the hearing resumed after the break.
Both sides refused to comment about the incident in the Daily News report.
However, Wallace Matthews of ESPN New York is reporting that this is not the case, as Rodriguez's publicist has denied the report:
"We cannot provide any details of this hearing as the Chair of the Arbitration Panel has issued an order prohibiting all parties from commenting publicly on the confidential proceedings, but what is being reported is NOT true," said a statement issued Wednesday by Ron Berkowitz, Rodriguez's publicist.
Sources familiar with the proceedings at the Park Ave. offices of Major League Baseball told ESPNNewYork.com that Rodriguez's side has yet to present any evidence or arguments outside of its opening statement.
Rodriguez was originally suspended back in August, according to the Associated Press, but his appeal allowed him to play out the remainder of the season with the Yankees. If the 211-game ban ultimately goes through, however, it could spell the end of the line for the 38-year-old.
A-Rod has been steadfast in his determination to beat the suspension. He seemed excited to get the ball rolling when asked about it during the Yankees' season-closing series against the Houston Astros, according to Bryan Hoch of MLB.com.
This has been a burden; a big burden. Let’s get it on. It starts on Monday. Better to face it head on.
I’ll be there every day. I’m fighting for my life and my whole legacy. I should be there. I hope everyone’s there.
Based on Rodriguez's comments leading up to the arbitration hearings, it seemed as though a flat-out denial would be his game plan. However, A-Rod has instead turned to an explanation that many accused performance-enhancing drug users have adopted in the past.
According to the Daily News, both Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens have pleaded ignorance, and while they both avoided suspensions, they're viewed as guilty in the court of public opinion.
Thompson, O'Keeffe, Red and Vinton later report one lawyer's response to such a case and provide an updated timetable for the appeal process:
According to one lawyer who has followed the Biogenesis investigation closely, it is unlikely an arbitrator would buy Rodriguez’s argument if he admits to having taken the substances. Rodriguez is not known to have tested positive for any drugs during the time he was alleged to have been a client of Bosch.
The hearing is expected to take up the rest of this week but can’t continue next week because of scheduling conflicts, according to the source with knowledge of the case. The hearing may resume later in the month or, if that is not sufficient time, in November.
Anthony Bosch, who is the founder of the Biogenesis clinic in question, presented evidence against Rodriguez on Monday and Tuesday, per the New York Daily News, so it will certainly be interesting to see if A-Rod's explanation holds any weight with the three-person panel that is presiding over the case.
The fact that Rodriguez tested positive for steroids in 2003 can't possibly help his image as far as the arbitrators are concerned, but he hasn't shown any signs of backing down, so he and Major League Baseball could be in for a long fight.
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