The verdict is in, and it goes to show that a famous name doesn’t make you above the law. Just like other recent cheating scandals in sports involving high-profile names like Lance Armstrong, Roger Clemens, and Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez and 12 other baseball players had to face the music as they were suspended during an announcement made Monday afternoon. The disciplinary action was taken after it was discovered the players were receiving performance enhancing drugs from a now defunct Florida anti-aging clinic, Biogenesis of America. Major League Baseball has been adamant about cleaning up the sport and this verdict is a testament to their commitment to follow through, no matter how big the star caught in the cross-fire.
It’s been a long and twist-filled journey to get to Monday’s announcement, one rife with all the underhanded dealings, denials, and public outrage of a Hollywood blockbuster movie. To get the straight story on how one of baseball’s biggest names went from sports superhero to zero while taking a handful of other players down with him, it’s necessary to travel back to at least 2009, and possibly as far back as 2001. Here, the facts of the story as they have come to light:
2001-2003: While playing for the Rangers, A-Rod has acknowledged performance enhancing drug use.
2009: A-Rod’s name first appears in Anthony Bosch’s records, where he is noted as paying $3,500 for Human Growth Hormone and testosterone creams.
2009-2013: Successive notebooks kept by Bosch for his Biogenesis clinic (although the clinic wasn’t officially incorporated until 2012) details Alex Rodriguez’s name or nickname at least 16 times, along with the 12 players who received suspensions on Monday, plus three other players already serving or having completed suspensions.
January 2013: The Miami New Times publishes information it received from a former Biogenesis employee about Major League Baseball players receiving illegal performance enhancing drugs. MLB begins to investigate the matter.
July 2013: The Milwaukee Brewers Ryan Braun is suspended for the 2013 season, and accepts his verdict without appeal.
August 2013: Major League Baseball announces that at the conclusion of their investigation, 13 players will be suspended, including New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, who held the MVP title three times and the All-Star title 14 times, and is currently the highest paid player in baseball, with a salary of $275 million.
After Monday’s announcement, A-Rod’s attorney confirmed that A-Rod will appeal the ruling, despite the fact that the other sanctioned players have accepted their verdicts, basically an admission of wrongdoing. Rodriguez’s suspension of 211 games, which would put him out for the remainder if the 2013 season and all of the 2014 season, was specifically for the use of illegal performance enhancers, recruiting other players to do the same, and for obstructing the investigation and trying to cover up his violations with lies, conspiracy theories, and denials.
While the other players caught in the scandal will serve their suspensions, A-Rod gets to continue playing through the appeal process, which could take until November or December of this year. Even though he faced an angry crowd of chanting and boo-ing fans during Monday night’s game in Chicago, his first in the major league since undergoing hip surgery, and his statement that the last several months had been the worst of his life, he is still getting to play baseball. A calculated move by a cunning sports star? Or a brave display of an innocent man’s love of the game in the face of controversy? That remains to be seen…