NORMAN — In question-and-answer form, a look at the issues and implications of Major League Baseball’s possible suspension of New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez:
Q: What penalties face Alex Rodriguez and why?
A: Rodriguez is among at least a dozen players MLB had been investigating since the Miami New Times published documents in January alleging links between major leagues and Biogenesis of America, a closed anti-aging clinic in Coral Gables accused of distributing banned performance-enhancing drugs. A-Rod faces up to a lifetime ban, with the Yankees expecting him to be accused of recruiting other athletes for the clinic, attempting to obstruct MLB’s investigation, and not being truthful with MLB in the past when he discussed his relationship with Dr. Anthony Galea, who pleaded guilty two years ago to a federal charge of bringing unapproved drugs into the United States from Canada.
Q: What will he be suspended for and why?
A: If he does not agree to a deal with MLB, he may be suspended first for violations of baseball’s collective bargaining agreement, which would prevent him from playing while the union files a grievance and an arbitrator determines whether the penalty meets a “just cause” standard. MLB may use a provision in the Basic Agreement that states : “Players may be disciplined for just cause for conduct that is materially detrimental or materially prejudicial to the best interests of baseball including, but not limited to, engaging in conduct in violation of federal, state or local law.” Rodriguez could later be suspended for violating the Joint Drug Agreement. He has never been suspended under the JDA, and a suspension for a first offender is served only after an arbitrator upholds the penalty.
Q: Why are suspensions for players linked to the Biogenesis investigation likely this week?