Thirteen MLB Stars Suspended for Performance Enhancing Drugs

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New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez.
Source: Paul Hagen, “A-Rod Gets Ban through 2014; 12 Get 50 Games,” Associated Press, Aug. 5, 2013
Thirteen Major League Baseball (MLB) players were suspended today for their alleged use of performance enhancing drugs. Twelve, including All-Stars Nelson Cruz, Jhonny Peralta, and Everth Cabrera, were suspended for 50 games, while three-time MVP and highest-paid player Alex Rodriguez was suspended for 211 games.

The players were suspended following a yearlong investigation by the MLB into their ties to the now-closed South Florida anti-aging clinic Biogenesis of America, which is accused of distributing banned performance-enhancing drugs. Players were tied to the clinic through “non-analytic” findings, meaning MLB used evidence other than failed drug tests to link players to the banned substances. They will not be paid while serving their suspensions.

Rodriguez, the highest-profile alleged client of the clinic, was suspended through the end of the 2014 season, the longest non-lifetime suspension in MLB history. He is able to play during his appeal, but stands to lose $34,240,437 if his suspension is upheld. Rodriguez’s discipline, MLB said in its written announcement, is “based on his use and possession of numerous forms of prohibited performance-enhancing substances, including testosterone and human growth hormone, over the course of multiple years.” The extended length of Rodriguez’s suspension is for “attempting to cover up his violations of the program by engaging in a course of conduct intended to obstruct and frustrate the investigation,” according to MLB.

“As a social institution with enormous social responsibilities, baseball must do everything it can to maintain integrity, fairness and a level playing field,” said MLB Commissioner Bud Selig. “We are committed to working together with players to reiterate that performance-enhancing drugs will not be tolerated in our game… Major League Baseball is proud of the enormous progress we have made, and we look forward to working with the players to make the penalties for violations of the drug program even more stringent and a stronger deterrent.”

Rodriguez will appeal the ban and has the organizational backing of the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA). “For the player appealing, Alex Rodriguez, we agree with his decision to fight his suspension,” said MLBPA Executive Director Michael Weiner in a statement. “We believe that the Commissioner has not acted appropriately… Mr. Rodriguez knows that the Union, consistent with its history, will defend his rights vigorously.”

On July 22, Milwaukee Brewers outfielder and former MVP Ryan Braun was suspended for the remaining 65 games of the season because of doping evidence uncovered in Biogenesis records. Along with four prior suspensions, Braun’s punishment brings the number of players disciplined for their relationship to Biogenesis to eighteen. This marks the largest number of suspensions in a single scandal since eight players were banned for life for throwing games in the 1919 World Series.

Sources:

Tim Brown, “MLB’s Biogenesis Investigation Leads to 13 More Suspensions,” sports.yahoo.com, Aug. 5, 2013

Mike Ginnitti, “MLB’s Biogenesis Financial Implications,” spotrac.com, Aug. 5, 2013

Paul Hagen, “A-Rod Gets Ban through 2014; 12 Get 50 Games,” mlb.com, Aug. 5, 2013

Mike Oz, “A-Rod Suspended 211 Games by MLB in Response to Biogenesis Scandal,” sports.yahoo.com, Aug. 5, 2013

TJ Quinn, Pedro Gomez, and Mike Fish, “MLB Seeks to Suspend A-Rod, Braun,” espn.go.com, June 5, 2013

Matt Snyder, “Biogenesis Suspensions not Black Sox Level, but Should Deter PED Use,” cbssports.com, Aug. 5, 2013