New York City (AFP) – New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez filed a lawsuit Friday against Major League Baseball for allegedly buying the testimony of a key witness in the doping case built against him.
The filing, made in New York State Supreme Court, claims that Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig and others in the organization are trying to “improperly marshal evidence that they hope to use to destroy the reputation and career of Alex Rodriguez.”
A closed-door arbitration hearing has been conducted this week at the New York offices of Major League Baseball regarding the 211-game suspension imposed against Rodriguez by Selig.
Selig says the superstar tried to impede the investigation into the Biogenesis clinic doping scandal, the biggest black eye to a sport that has endured doping damage for more than a decade.
The Biogenesis scandal has prompted 13 suspensions of at least 50 games, one of the stars banned being 2011 National League Most Valuable Player Ryan Braun.
Rodriguez, the active leader in career home runs with 654, appealed the ban and was able to play out the final weeks of the season as a result. A decision is expected on the suspension before the start of 2014 pre-season workouts.
“A-Rod” did not name the Yankees in the 31-page lawsuit, which seeks damages that would be determined at trial.
Rodriguez’s lawsuit claims Selig wants to make an example of him and “to gloss over Selig’s past inaction and tacit approval of the use of performance enhancing substances in baseball … in an attempt to secure his legacy as the ‘savior’ of America’s pastime.”
Rodriguez claims Major League Baseball is paying Anthony Bosch, who ran the clinic suspected as the source of the performance-enhancing drugs, $5 million for his information against Rodriguez and paid $150,000 for records from the clinic.
He says the league has leaked damaging information about Rodriguez to the media in violation of a confidentiality agreement and that investigators have bribed and intimidated witnesses and at least once impersonated police officers.
Rodriguez rips Selig in the lawsuit, saying he willingly turned a blind eye to doping in the sport to help it recover from a labor dispute that wiped out the 1994 World Series and reversed course only after pressure from U.S. lawmakers in 2006.
Major League Baseball issued a statement in response to the lawsuit, claiming Rodriguez has violated confidentiality agreements as well as doping rules.
“This lawsuit is a clear violation of the confidentiality provisions of our drug program and it is nothing more than a desperate attempt to circumvent the Collective Bargaining Agreement,” the statement said.
“While we vehemently deny the allegations in the complaint, none of those allegations is relevant to the real issue: whether Mr. Rodriguez violated the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program by using and possessing numerous forms of prohibited performance-enhancing substances, including testosterone and human growth hormone over the course of multiple years and whether he violated the basic agreement by 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.”
AFP Photo/Drew Hallowell