‘Disgusted’ Alex Rodriguez leaves hearing, says he’s done with ‘farce’

Posted at 8:29 PM, Nov 20, 2013
and last updated 2013-11-20 22:29:24-05
By Jason Carroll


NEW YORK (CNN) — New York Yankees player Alex Rodriguez walked out of an arbitration hearing into his record-setting 211-game suspension on Wednesday after learning Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig would not testify, saying later that he’s done with what he called a “farce” and an “abusive process.”

After arbitrator Fred Horowitz made the decision on Selig, Rodriguez slammed his hand on a desk, looked at MLB Chief Operating Officer Rob Manfred and then at Horowitz, and cursed, a source who was in the room in New York told CNN.

The Yankees third baseman then walked out, according to the source.

Later, Rodriguez appeared on WFAN radio, which was simulcast on the YES cable TV network, and said he will meet with his attorneys to decide whether he will testify Friday, as scheduled.

As of now, if Selig doesn’t appear, Rodriguez won’t either, he said.

One of his attorneys told CNN’s “Piers Morgan Live” that Selig needs to answer questions about the suspension.

“Come here, sit in the chair, take an oath, explain your unprecedented, unexplainable decision to make the suspension,” attorney Joe Tacopina told CNN. “What this really is, is cowardice and hypocrisy.”

Rodriguez is appealing his suspension, which MLB levied after accusing him of taking performance-enhancing drugs and having ties to the now-shuttered Biogenesis clinic.

After leaving the hearing, Rodriguez released a statement saying he was “disgusted with this abusive process, designed to ensure that the player fails.”

“I have sat through 10 days of testimony by felons and liars, sitting quietly through every minute, trying to respect the league and the process,” Rodriguez said. “This morning after Bud Selig refused to come in and testify about his rationale for the unprecedented and totally baseless punishment he hit me with, the arbitrator selected by MLB and the players’ association refused to order Selig to come in and face me.

“The absurdity and injustice just became too much. I walked out and will not participate any further in this farce.”

A spokesman for Major League Baseball told CNN that the league will continue to take part.

“Despite Mr. Rodriguez being upset with one of the arbitration panel’s rulings today, Major League Baseball remains committed to this process and to a fair resolution of the pending dispute,” Pat Courtney said.

The players’ union said it disagrees with the decision that the commissioner doesn’t have to testify, saying players have the right to face their accusers.

Rodriguez told WFAN he invited Selig to talk in person in early in 2013 but the commissioner declined.

“I think they wanted this big spectacle, and they got it,” he said on WFAN.

He said Selig has a personal problem with him and is “trying to destroy me.”

The suspension involves Biogenesis, the former anti-aging clinic in South Florida that MLB says supplied steroids to at least a dozen baseball players.

Rodriguez was one of 14 players suspended in the Biogenesis scandal and is the only one who appealed his suspension. Though he was suspended in August, Rodriguez played out the 2013 season because he appealed.

Rodriguez, 38, is fifth on MLB’s list of all-time home run leaders, just six runs behind Willie Mays. He would make $25 million in 2014 if his suspension is overturned. If his suspension is upheld, he won’t be eligible to return until 49 games into the 2015 season.

CNN’s Jason Hanna contributed to this report.

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