Alex Rodriguez won't walk alone when it comes to appealing his long suspension.
In a statement released Monday afternoon, MLBPA head Michael Weiner says the union agrees with the New York Yankees' decision to fight the 211-game ban. Weiner says commissioner Bud Selig "has not acted appropriately" in levying the punishment and also used the statement to express his disappointment in some of the information leaks that sprung over previous weeks.
Here is Weiner's complete statement:
The accepted suspensions announced today are consistent with the punishments set forth in the Joint Drug Agreement, and were arrived at only after hours of intense negotiations between the bargaining parties, the players and their representatives.
For the player appealing, Alex Rodriguez, we agree with his decision to fight his suspension. We believe that the Commissioner has not acted appropriately under the Basic Agreement. Rodriguez knows that the Union, consistent with its history, will defend his rights vigorously.
The Union’s members have made it clear that they want a clean game. They support efforts to discipline players, and harshly, to help ensure an even playing field for all. The players support the Union’s efforts to uphold the JDA while at the same time guaranteeing that players receive the due process rights and confidentiality protections granted under the agreement.
Lastly, l want to close by stating our profound disappointment in the way individuals granted access to private and privileged information felt compelled to share that information publicly. The manner in which confidential information was so freely exchanged is not only a threat to the success and credibility of our jointly administered program; it calls into question the level of trust required to administer such a program. It is our view that when the bargaining parties hold their annual review of the program, we must revisit the JDA’s confidentiality provisions and consider implementing stricter rules for any breach by any individual involved in the process.”
Weiner didn't provide any details when it came to Selig's behavior, but the crux of the issue is obviously with the length of A-Rod's suspension (211 games compared to 50 for the other 12 players). However, given the publicity this story has attracted, we're likely to hear a lot of the gory details as both sides prepare for battle. It won't be pretty.