Via the Daily News -
If Alex Rodriguez is intent on fighting his looming suspension in an effort to stay on the field and protect his contract, commissioner Bud Selig is prepared to throw the book at the steroid-stained Yankee by invoking one of his office’s most extreme privileges — the right to take action against a player to preserve the integrity of the game, the Daily News has learned.
By invoking that rarely used power – embodied in Article XI, Section A1b of the game’s collective bargaining agreement – Selig would attempt to effectively keep Rodriguez from ever returning to the field by bypassing the grievance procedure outlined in the joint drug program MLB operates in conjunction with the Players Association.
Rodriguez would be suspended immediately for interfering with MLB’s year-long investigation into Biogenesis, the South Florida anti-aging clinic that allegedly supplied performance-enhancing drugs to the aging infielder and other players and would later be hit with an additional suspension for violating baseball’s drug program.
MLB investigators believe Rodriguez attempted to intimidate witnesses and purchase incriminating documents to keep them out of the hands of baseball officials.
In an unprecedented action by a commissioner, suspensions for Rodriguez – once the sports’ biggest star – and 14 players, are expected to be announced imminently.
According to the CBA, the commissioner hears appeals of any discipline handed down under Article XI, Section A1b. Punishing Rodriguez under that clause could lead to an unprecedented legal showdown between MLB, Rodriguez and the players’ union.
But whether such hostilities break out depends upon how damning the evidence is that MLB gathered during its long investigation of Rodriguez. MLB investigators believe they have a mountain of evidence that shows Rodriguez attempted to interfere in their investigation, as well as hundreds of emails, text messages and phone records that show Rodriguez engaged in performance-enhancing drug use in 2010, 2011 and 2012, and possibly longer.
Selig is believed to be so determined to keep Rodriguez from ever stepping on a Major League Baseball field again that he is risking a reopening of the collective bargaining agreement or even a federal court case with his decision to bypass the usual grievance procedures and exercise his power to take action on an issue “involving the preservation of the integrity of, or the maintenance of public confidence in, the game of baseball.”
By basing his treatment of Rodriguez on that clause, Selig is effectively bypassing the arbitration-based procedures in place for doping cases, which are laid out in the Joint Drug Agreement, baseball’s collectively bargained anti-doping policy and putting appeals process in his own hands.
If the Players Association decides to open the CBA, it would still find it difficult to defend Rodriguez because many of its players have abandoned support for the Yankees’ disgraced third baseman.
Let’s get ready to rumble!