After months of rich legal intrigue and public grandstanding by both sides, Alex Rodriguez has been suspended for the entire 2014 season by arbitrator Fredric Horowitz, who handed down a 162-game ban to the New York Yankees third baseman for his involvement in Major League Baseball’s Biogenesis performance enhancing drugs (PED) and human growth hormone (HGH) scandal.
The suspension also includes all potential playoff games in 2014 and represents the longest suspension — short of a lifetime ban — in baseball history.
Horowitz’s ruling upholds a good portion of the original 211-game suspension levied by MLB, which banned Rodriguez in August after concluding its investigation. Rodriguez continued playing after appealing the decision. Moreover, Rodriguez will be suspended without pay, saving the New York Yankees $25 million.
A-Rod, of course, remains defiant and promises legal action. The Yankee third baseman posted this lengthy response to the arbitration decision:
“The number of games sadly comes as no surprise, as the deck has been stacked against me from day one. 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. 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.
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. 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.
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.”
Twitter was quick to react to the news. Take a look at what some had to say: