It’s going to be a while before Alex Rodriguez’s appeal is actually brought to an arbitrator, but the early indications are that he’s not going to argue against the Biogenesis evidence. Instead, he’s simply going to argue that the suspension is too long. It’s not exactly a “not guilty” defense. More like a “not that guilty” defense.
Yesterday, the head of the MLB Players Association, Michael Weiner, told radio host Chris Russo that he actually advised Rodriguez to accept the suspension if the league was willing to make it short enough. Here’s the exchange:
Russo: “I get the impression, Michael, that it’s not so much whether he did or did not do steroids. The issue is more about the length of the suspension. Is that correct?”
Weiner: “Again, I can’t speak about the specifics here but I don’t think there’s any question that the length of the suspension is a very important part of this. We think 211 games is far too much, so do the A-Rod people, and that’s what the fight is largely going to be about.”
Russo: “So in other words then if baseball came up with 50 games you would have advised A-Rod to take it?”
Weiner: “I don’t want to give a number, but there was a number that I gave A-Rod and we advised him to take it. He was never given that number.”
Russo: “Well, wouldn’t that be an admission that A-Rod did steroids then if you gave him a number that would have been acceptable?”
Weiner: “It’s a question of evidence and, you know, each player has to make his own decision as to whether he used or not. Based on the evidence that we saw we made a recommendation. The Commissioner’s office didn’t meet it. They were much higher. And therefore we’re at a hearing.”
Weiner acknowledged that Rodriguez’s representatives asked for another meeting with Major League Baseball on Saturday — two days before the suspension was announced — but the meeting never happened. He didn’t go into specifics. Near the end of the interview, Weiner talked a little bit about whether the Yankees could try to void Rodriguez’s contract, but naturally said he saw no way for that to happen.
At this point, I wonder how many fans are upset about the extent of the discipline and how many are upset that Rodriguez was caught using again. How long does the punish need to be, and how heavy-handed does the league have to act, to actually get players to stop taking this stuff?
Associated Press photo