The "60 Minutes" show in which MLB executive Rob Manfred, arbitrator Fredric Horowitz, and principal witness Tony Bosch appear to discuss Alex Rodriguez's recent 162-game suspension is set to air tonight, and the MLB Players Association is not happy about it. They released a statement regarding the episode and their anger is obvious:
It is unfortunate that Major League Baseball apparently lacks faith in the integrity and finality of the arbitrator’s decision and our Joint Drug Agreement, such that it could not resist the temptation to publicly pile-on against Alex Rodriguez. It is equally troubling that the MLB-appointed Panel Arbitrator will himself be appearing in the "60 Minutes" segment, and that Tony Bosch, MLB’s principal witness, is appearing on the program with MLB’s blessing.
MLB’s post-decision rush to the media is inconsistent with our collectively-bargained arbitration process, in general, as well as the confidentiality and credibility of the Joint Drug Agreement, in particular. After learning of tonight’s "60 Minutes" segment, Players have expressed anger over, among other things, MLB’s inability to let the result of yesterday’s decision speak for itself. As a result, the Players Association is considering all legal options available to remedy any breaches committed by MLB.
Throughout this process the Players Association has repeatedly shown it is committed to an effective drug program that is strong and fair. And as we indicated in our statement yesterday, although we do not agree with the arbitrator’s decision, we respect the process and will act accordingly. We believe the other involved parties should do the same.
It's pretty crazy that MLB could not even wait a weekend to further make a spectacle of the whole ordeal, and MLBPA leader Tony Clark and his colleagues have every right to be upset about it. Sure, players probably don't like A-Rod all that much, but if MLB is apparently allowed to do a character assassination of A-Rod, it gives them free reign to do it against any player. The MLBPA recognizes the dangers of such precedence, and even though they accepted A-Rod's 162-game suspension without much noise, watching MLB do a victory lap on national TV and attempt to act as the game's white knights despite their own sketchy legal methods throughout the whole process is too much to handle.
With A-Rod threatening to take his case to federal court, such a public display can only add merit to his case, no matter how unlikely it is that the suspension will be changed. Between that case and MLBPA potentially seeking legal action (which could have ripple effects on the next Collective Bargaining Agreement in 2016), this story is far from over.
According to Joel Sherman, MLB responded to the MLBPA:
We have notified the Major League Baseball Players Association on numerous occasions that we intended to respond to all of the attacks on the integrity of our Joint Drug Program. Those attacks continued yet again yesterday with Mr. Rodriguez's statement. Out of respect to the grievance process and at the request of the MLBPA, we waited until a decision was rendered to make our response.
It is ironic that the MLBPA is complaining about MLB's participation in this program given that Mr. Rodriguez's lawyer is also participating in the show.
>As to Mr. Bosch's appearance, he is not controlled by us and is entitled to speak however he chooses about his interactions with Mr. Rodriguez.
Of course, columnist Andrew Marchand was quick to note that A-Rod's side only agreed to appear on the segment when it was clear that there would be any representation in his favor otherwise. So much for that counterargument, MLB. Yay, pissing contests! They also noted that they did not control Bosch's appearance on the show. Thoughts, Craig Calcaterra?
"Look, we paid his legal bills, expenses, gave him security and "bought" "documents" from him, but we have NO control over him at all."— Craig Calcaterra (@craigcalcaterra) January 13, 2014
My thoughts exactly. If anyone seriously thinks the MLB had absolutely nothing to do with Bosch appearing on 60 Minutes, then I have a bridge to sell them.
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