05 August 2013

Why MLB made the right move in not banning Alex Rodriguez for life

Alex Rodriguez was bound for the record books, and those of which he entered today by being assessed the longest PED-related suspension ever, 211 games. That is the balance of the 2013 when it gos into effect on Thursday and all of next season, but Rodriguez will appeal said suspension and he is allowed to play in the meantime with a verdict not expected until November or December.

Rodriguez is not the only player to be suspended for his connection to Biogenesis and Anthony Bosch, 12 other players were suspended today as well as the Ryan Braun suspension a couple of weeks back, but he was the most high-profile of the bunch. His case was considered to be so serious that Major League Baseball was reportedly considering levying a lifetime ban. Fortunately, they chose not to.

If baseball was going to ban Rodriguez, it was going to be an unprecedented move by the Commissioner of MLB, Bud Selig, as he would be suspended under the "best interests of baseball" clause of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. As I just said, such a move has never occur before and no matter how unpopular Rodriguez can be, the player's union would be sure to fight a move to the better end as it could allow the Commissioner's office to gain unilateral powers that it has never had before. An appeal would have to go to Selig himself. A key part of Selig's legacy as commissioner has been peace with the player's union, so you know he would not risk a major fight with the strongest union in sports.

And Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports made a good point here as part of his argument that Rodriguez should not be banned for life. Morosi pointed out that the charges against Rodriguez, using PEDs over an extended period of time and interfering with the investigation, may not be all that more serious than the cases of Melky Cabrera, who infamously created a fake website to mislead investigators, and Braun, who lied many a time of his usage and his connection as well as indignantly attacking the drug-testing program when he knew all along that the test was correct. He points out that if Rodriguez were to be banned for life, it could give off the impression that it was a witch hunt to go after him by the league.

Of course, this is not to absolve Rodriguez in all of this, the man who was thought to be one of the all time greats from when he debuted in 1994 has clearly disgraced himself and the game. He will never have the chance to go out on top and frankly, he shouldn't. And he has already lost in the court of public opinion as he never was that popular when he signed that $252 million deal in 2001 with the Rangers. But honestly, a lifetime ban would have been a mistake.

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