New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez dropped a lawsuit challenging his full-season suspension for using performance-enhancing drugs, signaling his possible acceptance of the punishment as his team prepares to begin spring training next week.
Rodriguez filed papers in Manhattan federal court today dismissing his complaint against Major League Baseball, which he filed last month after an arbitration panel found he “committed multiple violations” of MLB’s drug policy. Rodriguez also today dropped a suit against Major League Baseball and Commissioner Bud Selig claiming their investigation of him used abusive tactics and amounted to a “witch hunt.”
“We believe that Mr. Rodriguez’s actions show his desire to return the focus to the play of our great game on the field and to all of the positive attributes and actions of his fellow Major League Players,” Major League Baseball said in a statement today. “We share that desire.”
The suspension will keep Rodriguez, a three-time American League Most Valuable Player, off the field until the 2015 season, during which he will turn 40. It may also derail his chances to collect most of the remaining $30 million in bonuses included in his contract for his pursuit of Barry Bonds’s career record of 762 home runs.
Joseph Tacopina, Rodriguez’s lawyer, confirmed that his client is dropping the two suits. Tacopina declined to comment further.
“Alex Rodriguez has done the right thing by withdrawing his lawsuit,” the Major League Baseball Players Association, the players’ union, said in a statement. “His decision to move forward is in everyone’s best interest.”
Rodriguez won’t be attending spring training, ESPN said, citing Tacopina.
The two sets of court papers contained a single sentence telling the court and the defendants that Rodriguez is dropping the suits. It didn’t give a reason for the move.
Rodriguez was facing an uphill legal battle, according to Paul Haagen, a professor of sports and contract law at Duke University School of Law. Haagen said last month that it’s rare for courts to overturn arbitration decisions.
“It is conceivable, but just barely, that a court might agree to hear what sounds like A-Rod’s claim that the arbitrator demonstrated evident bias,” Haagen said in an e-mail. “The almost certain result, however, would be that the court will dismiss the claim.”
The 14-time All-Star was initially suspended in August after MLB Commissioner Bud Selig said he used testosterone and human-growth hormone over multiple years and tried to obstruct its investigation of Biogenesis of America LLC, a now-closed anti-aging clinic in Coral Gables, Florida. Rodriguez received banned substances from Anthony Bosch, the founder of Biogenesis, according to MLB.
The case is Rodriguez v. Major League Baseball, 14- cv-00244; Rodriguez v. Major League Baseball, 13-cv-07097, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).
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