Sat. Jun 22nd, 2024

I dislike Alex Rodriguez. To me, he is probably as big a villain to the game of baseball as anybody who ever set foot on the diamond. Between his reckless abandon for the drug policy and his web of lies I would not mind if he never played again. But that being said, I really hope A-Rod wins his appeal that is set to move forward in the coming weeks, and has his suspension reduced.
The 211 game suspension hammered down on A-Rod was unprecedented and frankly unfair. According to MLB, in a statement they issued on Aug. 5, the suspension was for a combination of “use and possession of numerous forms of prohibited performance-enhancing substances” and for “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.”
What makes little sense is that Ryan Braun and Melky Cabrera did the exact same thing and both of their suspensions were a fraction of what A-Rod’s is.
In February 2012, reigning National League MVP Ryan Braun held a press conference after reports surfaced that he failed a drug test and tested positive for performance enhancing drugs. Braun took the podium and spun the tale of a victim, blaming the sample collector (who later lost his job) and saying things such as the system was “fatally flawed” and “I bet my life that this substance never entered my body at any point.”
He was adamant, and he was also lying. Just after the All-Star break in 2013, Braun agreed to a 65-game suspension for using performance enhancing drugs, admitting in full to the use of synthetic testosterone and to the lies he told for more than a year leading up to that point.
Braun took the drugs, like A-Rod. Also like A-Rod (albeit in a different manner) he attempted to throw off the investigation by blaming the system and an innocent sample collector. Yet he earned just 65 games on the pine.
How about Melky Cabrera, the outfielder who was having the best season of his career before testing positive for PED’s in 2013? Not only did he take the drugs, but according to the breaking report from the New York Times he also allegedly paid $10,000 to have a fake website built so that it would seem that he tried to buy a legal supplement but was given an illegal one by the online retailer (which he made up).
Drugs? Yep. Attempting to “cover up his violations and engage in a course of conduct intended to obstruct and frustrate the Office of the Commissioner’s investigation?” Absolutely.
So where is the difference between what these two guys did and what A-Rod did? Even though you could technically call A-Rod a “second offender” the penalty for such is 100 games. In what way was his obstruction and impediment of the investigation so much worse than Braun’s or Cabrera’s that it warrants an extra 111 games when Braun got 15 added to the 50 game drug suspension and Cabrera only got the 50?
I know we do not know all of the details of A-Rod’s cover-up scheme yet, and I know Braun took a plea deal and could have gotten a bigger suspension, but A-Rod’s punishment still seems completely arbitrary to me. It almost seems like MLB is trying to flex its muscles in the matter by coming down hard on A-Rod and making him the poster boy for steroid use. Why else would Bud Selig have toyed with the ludicrous idea of a lifetime ban?
Like I said, I would not care if he ever played again. I think he is the worst possible type of player to represent America’s pastime and be a role model to kids. But if the whole purpose of these steroid investigations and suspensions is to restore the fairness and integrity of the game, the punishments should be fair as well, and A-Rod’s is far from it.
Kenny Ayres is a fourth-year student majoring in communication studies with a minor in journalism. He can be reached at

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