A-Rod suing MLB over investigationWallace Matthews October 4, 2013 « Murray to decide on O2 next week | GB&I cut Europe's lead to one point »
The closed-door hearing going on at the Park Avenue offices of Major League Baseball to decide the fate of Alex Rodriguez's 211-game suspension will not be the last fight between the league and the New York Yankees star.
It may just be the first.
Rodriguez filed a lawsuit on Friday morning in the New York State Supreme Court that alleges MLB and commissioner Bud Selig have had one goal in mind: "to improperly marshal evidence that they hope to use to destroy the reputation and career of Alex Rodriguez."
The Yankees were not named in the suit, which seeks compensatory and punitive damages that would be determined at trial.
MLB issued a statement regarding the Rodriguez lawsuit. It read: "While we vehemently deny the allegations in the complaint, none of those allegations is relevant to the real issue: whether Mr. Rodriguez violated the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program by using and possessing numerous forms of prohibited performance-enhancing substances, including testosterone and human growth hormone, over the course of multiple years and whether he violated the Basic Agreement by attempting to cover-up his violations of the Program by engaging in a course of conduct intended to obstruct and frustrate the Office of the Commissioner's investigation."
Shortly after the suit was filed, Rodriguez released a statement: "The entire legal dynamic is very complex, and my legal team is doing what they need to in order to vindicate me and pursue all of my rights. This matter is entirely separate from the ongoing arbitration proceedings ... and for the day to come when I can share my story with the public and my supporters."
The suit may be the opening salvo in what could be a flurry of lawsuits from Rodriguez.
In August, ESPN reported that Rodriguez would file suit against Yankees team physician Chris Ahmad, and on Friday, a source with knowledge of Rodriguez's plans said that suit was still forthcoming.
The source also said that no matter how the hearing before arbitrator Fredric Horowitz turns out - it entered its fifth day on Friday and is expected to stretch into next week - "this thing will not end here. This thing will wind up in federal court before it's all done."
The 31-page lawsuit levels a series of charges at Selig and MLB, including the allegation that the commissioner has violated the collective bargaining agreement to "make an example of Mr. Rodriguez … to gloss over Selig's past inaction and tacit approval of the use of performance enhancing substances in baseball … in an attempt to secure his legacy as the 'saviour' of America's pastime."
Neither Rodriguez nor his attorney, Joseph Tacopina, could be reached for comment.
The lawsuit alleges MLB is paying $5 million to Anthony Bosch, the proprietor of the now-defunct Biogenesis anti-aging clinic suspected to be a source of illegal performance-enhancing drugs to players, for his cooperation in their case against Rodriguez, as well as claiming MLB has repeatedly violated terms of a confidentiality agreement between the parties by leaking information damaging to Rodriguez to selected news outlets.
The suit is especially critical of Selig, accusing him of presiding over a "scandal-ridden" term as commissioner in which MLB suffered a work stoppage that caused the cancellation of a World Series, willingly allowing the proliferation of performance-enhancing drug use in baseball as a means of rebuilding the game's appeal and adopting an anti-PED stance only under increasing pressure from fans and Congress in 2006.
The suit also alleges that Selig and MLB have used media outlets such as the Late Show with David Letterman and the Today Show to press their case against Rodriguez in what the suit terms a "scorched-earth approach to conducting an investigation."
Rodriguez is appealing the 211-game suspension levied against him in August by MLB for his alleged involvement with Bosch and Biogenesis. Thirteen other players, including Ryan Braun, have accepted suspensions ranging from 50 games to 65 games for Braun.
If Rodriguez's case doesn't settle, a decision by Horowitz is expected this winter.
This article originally appeared on ESPN.com
Download ESPN's new UK sport app, a fresh and powerful new way to follow your favourite UK sports news, scores and video.