New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez is unlikely to win the appeal of his season-long suspension, according to a report by Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. Rodriguez had his drug suspension reduced to 162 games by an arbiter earlier in January, but is continuing to fight what he sees as an unjust penalty.
Cafardo cites Stanford law professor William B. Gould IV, who sees two reasons why A-Rod's case is doomed. The first is that the player never truly disputed the evidence against him, which included written records as well as suspicious communications with Biogenesis founder Tony Bosch. In Gould's words, via Cafardo:
"There's no testimony from A-Rod or anyone disputing the evidence against him . . . clear and convincing proof against him."
The other reason is that drug offenses have been handled on the "just cause clause" throughout baseball history. In addition, unprecedented offenses have been met with unprecedented punishments throughout sports history; Gould mentions NBA players Kermit Washington and Latrell Sprewell as individuals whose suspensions were tailored to their unique offenses. Since Rodriguez's transgressions far exceeded a simple failed drug test, it is not inappropriate for his suspension to exceed the first-time penalty set forth in the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Gould, per Cafardo:
The drug testing clause began in 2003 setting forth its own sanctions, never affecting just cause as a basis for discipline...A-Rod's numerous violations, as well his attempt to conceal and cover up, were properly part of just cause.
In fact, Gould believes that the original 211-game suspension handed down by Bud Selig could have been fairly upheld. Either way, though, reversal of an arbitration decision is usually reserved for instances in which the arbiter strays from the written word of the CBA, which is not the case here.