Alex Rodriguez continues to insist in public statements that he didn't use banned substances while with the New York Yankees.
When he had a chance to issue such denials under oath, though, he whiffed without taking a swing, as arbitrator Fredric Horowitz notes time and again in his decision to uphold most of A-Rod's suspension.
The 34-page text of Horowitz's ruling was unveiled Monday as part of a lawsuit Rodriguez filed in federal court against Major League Baseball and the players association, in which he seeks to have his season-long ban overturned.
Horowitz on Saturday shortened Rodriguez's initial suspension from 211 to 162 games – plus the 2014 postseason – but largely sided with MLB's argument that the Yankees third baseman had engaged in a systematic pattern of doping and made concerted efforts to obstruct baseball's investigation into the Biogenesis drug scandal.
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Much of MLB's evidence was supplied by Biogenesis founder Anthony Bosch, who alleged he provided A-Rod three types of performance-enhancing drugs – testosterone, IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor 1) and human growth hormone – from 2010 to 2012.
While Rodriguez's lawyers attacked Bosch's credibility, A-Rod did not testify, and in fact stormed out of the next-to-last day of his arbitration hearing in November.
"Bosch's testimony regarding the use and possession of these three substances by Rodriguez was neither refuted nor contradicted with testimony under oath by (Jorge) Velasquez or Yuri Sucart, whom Bosch identified as witnesses to the violations, or by Rodriguez himself,'' Horowitz wrote in his decision.
The arbitrator goes on to list several instances in which the evidence showed Rodriguez had violated the terms of the Joint Drug Agreement and the Basic Agreement between MLB and the union. At no point, Horowitz said, did A-Rod or his lawyers disprove the allegations.
Instead, their focus was on casting doubt on Bosch, a self-described doctor who acknowledged selling PEDs out of his now-closed Biogenesis clinic. Indeed, Horowitz says that for the purposes of the case Bosch was regarded as a "drug dealer,'' and that his actions violated federal and state laws.
But Horowitz still found Bosch's testimony to be "direct, credible,'' and corroborated by his records and messages he exchanged with Rodriguez.
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A-Rod also argued that he passed 11 drug tests between 2010 and 2012, and tried to make a case that the 211-game suspension was unwarranted. Horowitz was unconvinced by the clean tests, pointing out they're hardly foolproof, and saw fit to reduce the penalty, but it still remains the largest ever baseball has handed out for a PED violation.
"While this length of suspension may be unprecedented for a MLB player,'' Horowitz wrote, "so is the misconduct he committed.''
By including the union in his lawsuit, arguing it had failed to protect his rights, A-Rod appears to have turned one of his remaining allies into an enemy.
"It is unfortunate that Alex Rodriguez has chosen to sue the Players Association,'' union executive director Tony Clark said in a statement. "His claim is completely without merit, and we will aggressively defend ourselves and our members from these baseless charges.
"The Players Association has vigorously defended Mr. Rodriguez's rights throughout the Biogenesis investigation, and indeed throughout his career. Mr. Rodriguez's allegation that the Association has failed to fairly represent him is outrageous, and his gratuitous attacks on our former Executive Director, Michael Weiner, are inexcusable. When all is said and done, I am confident the Players Association will prevail."
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