A-Rod lawsuit says Bud Selig 'lacked courage'
Updated suit rips commissioner for not testifying
Alex Rodriguez's lawyers updated his lawsuit against Major League Baseball and Bud Selig, adding new criticism of the commissioner for not testifying in the union's grievance to overturn the 211-game suspension given to the New York Yankees star last summer.
The lawyers filed a 33-page amended complaint Tuesday in federal court in Manhattan, expanding on the suit originally filed Oct. 3 in New York Supreme Court.
Arbitrator Fredric Horowitz last week refused to compel Selig to testify in the grievance, and Rodriguez then walked out of the hearing without testifying. The sides rested last Thursday after 12 days of sessions, and a decision on whether to uphold or alter the discipline is expected in January.
"Mr. Selig chose to hide in his office in Milwaukee rather than come testify at the grievance hearing in New York. In Mr. Selig's world, apparently the 'buck' does not stop with Bud," the new complaint said. "Mr. Selig lacked the courage of his convictions to explain under oath the reasons for the suspension and the conduct of his investigators. His silence on these issues speaks volumes and leads to only one logical conclusion — his actions, and those of the MLB personnel he controls, were aimed at destroying the reputation, career and business prospects of Alex Rodriguez."
Rodriguez was suspended Aug. 5 for alleged violations of the sport's drug agreement and labour contract, and he played pending a determination of the grievance.
As he did in the original complaint, Rodriguez accused Selig of conducting a "witch hunt" against him. The three-time AL MVP criticized the methods MLB employed in its investigation of the Biogenesis of America anti-aging clinic, accused of distributing banned performance-enhancing drugs.
A-Rod's lawyers included a photograph of Selig posing with a fan wearing a red shirt that had "A-ROID" written across the front. While the lawsuit attributes the photo to NESN.com, the NESN's website says the photo was from the 2009 All-Star FanFest and was taken from NBCSportsRadio's Twitter feed.
"Sadly, this cowardly stance by Mr. Selig is consistent with his past and highly inappropriate conduct in posing, smilingly, with a young fan wearing a T-shirt with a derogatory message directed at Mr. Rodriguez," the amended lawsuit said. "One cannot imagine the Commissioner of any other professional sport — or indeed the CEO of any business — doing something similar with respect to one of his or her players or employees."
MLB had the suit removed to federal court, and Rodriguez's lawyers are trying to persuade U.S. District Judge Lorna G. Schofield to remand the case back to New York state court. A hearing is scheduled for Jan. 23.
Rodriguez claimed Selig interfered with his existing contracts and prospective business relationships. MLB says the case should be heard in federal court because of provisions of the Labor Management Relations Act, known as Taft-Hartley, and intends to ask for the suit to be dismissed.
Later Tuesday, Rodriguez's lawyers released a stack of documents, including a presentation dated Oct. 21. They called a news conference for that evening with the intent to release papers, only to be blocked by an order from Horowitz. The presentation criticizes the conduct of several MLB investigators and New York City Police.
The lawyers also released statements of several people who were on Rodriguez's witness list but never testified at the grievance hearing.
Marcelo Albir and Lazaro Collazo accused MLB's investigators of harassment, which the league denies. Gary L. Jones, who says he was a friend of Porter Fischer, said he was paid $125,000 in $100 bills by MLB Senior Vice-President Dan Mullin at the Cosmos Diner in Pompano Beach, Fla., last March and $25,000 by Mullin in $50s and $100s for additional documents the following month. He also states Jones told Mullin that the documents had been stolen.
MLB says the first payment was $100,000 and denies the comments Jones attributed to Mullin.
Robert Davis Miller alleged Biogenesis founder Anthony Bosch told him he was being paid $5 million by MLB in monthly installments, which the league also denies.