MLB Trying to Destroy Rodriguez’s Career, Lawyer Says
Major League Baseball and Commissioner Bud Selig tried to ruin the reputation and career of New York Yankees’ third baseman Alex Rodriguez in their investigation of the use of performance-enhancing drugs, the ballplayer’s lawyer told a federal judge.
MLB investigators paid off and threatened witnesses, bought stolen documents and leaked confidential information to the press to “poison the well against Mr. Rodriguez,” the attorney, Jordan Siev, told U.S. District Judge Lorna Schofield today in Manhattan. One investigator had an “inappropriate sexual relationship” with a witness, Siev said.
Selig and MLB violated New York law in an attempt to “get Mr. Rodriguez at all costs and salvage Mr. Selig’s reputation” for policing the use of banned drugs in the game, Siev said.
“We think this conduct is tortious, at the least, and potentially criminal,” he said.
Rodriguez, 38, is appealing a 211-game suspension, the longest in major-league history, for using testosterone and human growth hormone.
He recently finished the sixth season of a 10-year, $275 million contract, the biggest in baseball. Rodriguez didn’t appear in court.
The athlete sued Selig and MLB in state court in Manhattan Oct. 3, seeking compensatory and punitive damages. The defendants then moved the suit to federal court.
Selig and Major League Baseball deny Rodriguez’s claims, their lawyer, Joseph Baumgarten, told Schofield.
Baumgarten said he will ask the judge to dismiss the suit on the ground that baseball’s labor agreement requires the player to take the claims to arbitration. Rodriguez is trying to return the case to state court.
“It’s ironic,” Schofield told the lawyers. “Neither side really wants to be here, but you both are here.”
The case is Rodriguez v. Major League Baseball, 13-cv-07097, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).
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