The Free Press, Mankato, MN


January 16, 2014

Our View:

Why It Matters: MLB succeeded in getting Alex Rodriguez suspended, but it may have done lasting damage to its drug program in the process.


This result is exactly what the JDA was intended to avoid. It was designed expressly to take Rodriguez out of the game. Perhaps not coincidentally, it relieves the New York Yankees of a heavy financial burden for the coming season — Rodriguez loses more than $20 million in salary as a result of the suspension — and may well allow the Yankees to evade the “luxury tax” on their bloated payroll for the first time.

Rodriguez would have done well to take the union’s advice last summer and take his losses. He kept fighting and lost. He would probably do well to quit fighting now, but he wouldn’t be Alex Rodriguez if he did bow to reality. But the ruling and its aftermath matters beyond Rodriguez. Denting the JDA in this manner does not sit well with the union. Nor did the unseemly victory dance the commissioner’s office performed on “60 Minutes” the day after the ruling.

Commissioner Bud Selig and his No. 2 and likely successor, Rob Manfred, would have done the sport better by forgoing the gloating and focusing instead on assuring the union that the Rodriguez witch-hunt is not standard operating procedure.

The Joint Drug Agreement is, after all, a joint venture. It exists in large part because the players wanted to rid the game of performance enhancers. And the union exists in large part because baseball’s owners for generations treated players unfairly. If Selig and Manfred are going to go their own way in the drug war, they may find that the union is no longer a partner.

Other View on this topic:

“Say what you will about Alex Rodriguez — hate him for his arrogance, disdain him for his ego, be jealous of his salary, etc. — shouldn’t he nevertheless be accorded the same due process as anyone else? I guess that concept doesn’t apply to pro athletes. There has been a lot of chatter on social media about the latest “60 Minutes” feature on Rodriguez. My non-scientific analysis reveals the majority of the comments came down on his side of Rodriguez and against MLB for “buying testimony.”

Believe me, I’m not an A-Rod apologist, but I’ve yet to hear anything from anyone I consider unbiased coming down against the ballplayer.”

Ron Kaplan, sports editor, New Jersey Jewish News

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