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Rodriguez accepts season-long penalty
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 09 - 02 - 2014

NEW YORK — Alex Rodriguez accepted his season-long suspension from Major League Baseball Friday, the longest penalty in the sport's history related to performance-enhancing drugs.
The decision came nearly four weeks after arbitrator Fredric Horowitz issued his decision largely upholding the penalty issued to the New York Yankees third baseman last summer by baseball Commissioner Bud Selig.
Rodriguez had repeatedly proclaimed his innocence and sued MLB and the Major League Baseball Players Association in federal court to overturn the penalty.
But 27 days after Horowitz's decision, with the start of spring training a week away, the three-time American League MVP withdrew the lawsuit and a previous action filed last fall claiming MLB and Selig were engaged in a “witch hunt” against him.
MLB issued a statement calling the decision to end the litigation “prudent.”
“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,” the sport said. “We share that desire.”
Rodriguez had angered many of his fellow players by suing his own union in an attempt to avoid a suspension.
“Alex Rodriguez has done the right thing by withdrawing his lawsuit,” the union said in a statement. “His decision to move forward is in everyone's best interest.”
After issuing a contentious statement on the day of the arbitration decision, Rodriguez folded quietly.
“We stand by the statements issued and have no further comment,” Rodriguez spokesman Ron Berkowitz said.
Rodriguez was banned over evidence collected in the Biogenesis clinic doping scandal that was uncovered last year and led to the biggest doping scandal in baseball history, which saw 12 other players admit guilt and take lesser bans.
Major League Baseball imposed a harsher penalty (162-game doping suspension) against Rodriguez because he took measures to impede the investigation into the scandal and Horowitz upheld it on appeal, saying there was clear and convincing evidence of doping and trying to obstruct the probe.
While his voluntary dismissal is likely the end of his efforts to fight the ban and could pave the way for his return in 2015 to fulfill the remaining years on his contract, a 10-year deal worth $275 million signed in 2007 that is the richest in baseball history.
“A-Rod,” 38, whose 654 career home runs are 108 shy of Barry Bonds' all-time record, will lose $25 million in salary from the Yankees this year, or about $154,000 for every game missed.
The Yankees could still go to court to argue that Rodriguez should not be paid the remaining $61 million on his deal from 2015-2017. — Agencies

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