Updated 06:03 AM EDT, Sun, Sep 20, 2020

NY Yankees' Alex Rodriguez to sue Both MLB & the Players Association, Looking to Overturn 162-Game Ban

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Alex Rodriguez continues his push to overturn a 162-game suspension handed down by Major League Baseball's (MLB) for his involvement in their Biogenesis investigation, suing both the league and the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) alleging bias in the arbitrator's decision.

Rodriguez's complaint alleges that arbitrator Fredric Horowitz ignored the league's Joint Drug Agreement, which calls for a 50-game ban for a first-time drug offense instead of the 162-ban he received - the longest drug-related suspension given to a MLB player. Rodriguez believes that since he never failed a drug test and the credibility of the league's main witness is suspect, he should be treated as a first-time offender.

"He ignored the clear disciplinary action of the JDA," the complaint reads, referring to Horowitz. "Accordingly, the Arbitration Award is not legitimate as it does not draw its essence from the JDA or [C]BA."

Rodriguez's legal complaint also named the MLBPA as defendants, accusing them of breaching their duties to represent him, criticizing Michael Weiner, the union head who died from a brain tumor in November, for recommending that Rodriguez settle for a lesser penalty if the commissioner's office were to offer an acceptable length of suspension.

"It is unfortunate that Alex Rodriguez has chosen to sue the Players Association," said MLBPA executive director Tony Clark in a statement, in response to the lawsuit. "His claim is completely without merit, and we will aggressively defend ourselves and our members from these baseless charges."

U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley III's early Monday afternoon decision paved the way for Rodriguez's lawsuit after he ruled in favor of releasing Horowitz's decision to the public. The MLBPA opposed making the arbitrator's decision public on the grounds that it could violate the confidentiality agreement in baseball's collective bargaining agreement (CBA).

But Pauley ruled that MLB had already violated the confidentiality agreement when commissioner Bud Selig and COO Rob Manfred, who ran the league's investigation into Biogenesis, were interviewed on CBS's 60 Minutes show Sunday night.

"Given the intense public interest in this matter and Commissioner Selig's disclosures last night on '60 Minutes,' it's difficult to imagine that any portion of this proceeding should be under seal," said Pauley.

MLB originally handed Rodriguez with a 211-game after the league's investigation into Biogenesis, an anti-aging clinic ran by Anthony Bosch who supplied banned performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) to athletes ranging from the professional ranks to high school athletes. The investigation was triggered by a Miami New Times shed light on the clinic's practice of selling to underage athletes.

The investigation led to the suspension of twelve other MLB players including former National League Most Valuable Player Milwaukee Brewers All-Star Ryan Braun (65-games), Texas Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz (50 games), Detroit Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta (50 games), and San Diego Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera (50 games).

"In my judgment, his actions were beyond comprehension," Selig said on 60 Minutes. "You put all the drug things on one side and then all the things that he did to impede our investigation and really do things that I had never seen any other player do, I think 211 games was a very fair penalty."

Horowitz knocked the suspension down to 162 games - the entire 2014 season including the postseason, after ruling that "direct evidence of those violations was supplied by the testimony of Anthony Bosch and corroborated with excerpts from Bosch's personal composition notebooks, BBMs (Blackberry messages) exchanged between Bosch and Rodriguez, and reasonable inferences drawn from the entire record of evidence."

Legal experts believe Rodriguez faces an uphill battle taking the matter to court, with employment law expert, Andrew Torrez, telling the New York Times that it is rare for a court to overturn an arbitrator's decision in which both sides collectively bargained how disputes are handled.

"It's incredibly difficult," said Torrez. "Only if the arbitrator conducted the hearing in a way that was fundamentally unfair to Alex Rodriguez is there likely to be any chance of overturning the arbitration award."

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