After months of declining to directly address whether Alex Rodriguez has used PEDs since 2009, the slugger's attorney has finally spoken out on the issue.
Joseph Tacopina, the defense lawyer hired by A-Rod for his appeal against MLB, said Monday that Rodriguez had "absolutely not" taken any illegal PEDs recently and insinuated that the league had no evidence to the contrary, report Jason Carroll and Steve Almasy of CNN.
Tacopina has admitted that Rodriguez had a relationship with Biogenesis and its clinic director, Tony Bosch, but said Monday that their correspondence was not nefarious in any way:
"Clearly there was a relationship -- a consulting relationship," Tacopina said. "I mean, Biogenesis, that lab has consulted with many professional athletes.
"Not every single one of those athletes has been accused of or found guilty of using illegal substances."
A-Rod and his legal team built their appeals case on the foundation that if Rodriguez took illegal substances, he did so unknowingly. That Tacopina is now vehemently denying illegal PED use of any kind is a bit off-message, but it shouldn't really come as a surprise.
Much of Tacopina's agenda seems to be centered on discrediting Major League Baseball's investigation in as many ways as possible, and denying that the league has any evidence is yet another way to do so.
A-Rod's appeal of his 211-game suspension is currently on hiatus, but is expected to resume on Nov. 18. Once all arguments have been heard, independent arbitrator Frederic Horowitz will cast the deciding vote on whether to uphold the record suspension, give Rodriguez a lessened sentence, or throw the case out altogether.