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UPDATE: A-Rod denies that he’s using the “I had no idea what I was taking” defense

Oct 2, 2013, 11:03 AM EDT

Alex Rodriguez

UPDATE: A-Rod’s team is denying the Daily News’ report:


11:03 AM: Or: Great Moments in Unoriginal and Implausible Excuses. From the Daily News:

According to a source with knowledge of Rodriguez’s ongoing arbitration hearings, the embattled Yankee and his lawyers have presented a case based partly on the idea that Rodriguez believed the substances he procured from the Biogenesis anti-aging clinic were innocent legal supplements.

Given that Major League Baseball is still presenting its affirmative case it’s unclear whether this is actually a pillar of Rodriguez’s defense or if it was merely mentioned in passing by one of his lawyers. Regardless, it will not likely do much for him in the court of public opinion. We’ve heard this with Barry Bonds and Rogers Clemens and it rings pretty hollow, especially given that the suppliers of these allegedly legal supplements were shady dudes who gave injections in hotel rooms and private homes in the dark of night.

That said, there could be a reason to offer up such an argument, even if it’s weakly offered. With no blood or urine testing evidence against A-Rod around, MLB has to establish that he actually and knowingly took something illegal. They’ll do it with Anthony Bosch’s word. Combatting that with an “I was duped” argument may seem weak, but so too is Bosch’s word compared to, say, a positive drug test. In other words, it’s weak, but it’s something.

Moreover, a big part of A-Rod’s defense is that Bosch is a liar, and it would be consistent for him to say that everything that comes out of Bosch’s mouth is a lie. If you say he lied about ten things but then admit, well, yes, the stuff he gave me was illegal and I knew it, you pretty much have no defense on that point and you’re helping out his credibility, even if it’s in only a small way.

Will this persuade the arbitrator that A-Rod actually was duped? I seriously doubt it. But it could prevent the arbitrator from concluding that A-Rod’s knowing culpability was certain — a 100% lock — and for every little sliver of doubt inserted into the record, the basis for hitting A-Rod with the most severe penalty possible is undermined in some way.

Oh, and one other thing: it could cause Major League Baseball to alter its case a bit to counter such a claim. To spend time on the “knowingly taking” part of the case that could be spent doing something else. To, even for a few moments, put them on defense. It’s a tactic as old as the legal system itself. And it still exists because it works sometimes. Just ask the L.A. County prosecutors who spent months defending the forensic procedures in the O.J Simpson case. Go ask the MLB officials who were unable to make Ryan Braun‘s first suspension stick last year. Was it plausible that the crime lab and a drug test collector tainted samples? Nope. But it put people on their heels for a bit.

Upshot: crappy P.R. move, cynical tactical move but understandable legal move.

  1. steve7921 - Oct 2, 2013 at 11:09 AM

    sounds like “FedEx man messed with my sample” defense to me….and we know how that turned out.

  2. highpowered350 - Oct 2, 2013 at 11:24 AM

    “Mom i was just holding it for a friend so they wouldn’t get in trouble.”

  3. rbj1 - Oct 2, 2013 at 11:36 AM

    How about a change to the JDA: any non-emergency, non-preapproved medical care or supplement use is to be considered a violation and to be treated as such.

    I don’t have a problem with quarter of a billion dollars contracts. The price for that, however, is that someone else gets to oversee your medical care.

    • chip56 - Oct 2, 2013 at 11:47 AM

      It’s true – you have trainers and medical staff out the wazzoo on a MLB team, you don’t need to run to GNC yourself. If you want something, ask the training staff to get it for you. If it’s legit, they will. Problem solved.

      • koufaxmitzvah - Oct 2, 2013 at 1:12 PM

        From simple minds come simplicity.

        Yeah, being a ballplayer means that you sign up for everybody being in your shit and urine.

      • chip56 - Oct 2, 2013 at 1:24 PM

        Actually it does. Says so right in the contract that the union signed with the league.

        And if the claim that the players who get caught is giving is legit, that they didn’t know that what they were doing was banned, then an easy way around that is to ask the people with the team who get paid to know what is and is not an approved medical treatment, for help.

      • rbj1 - Oct 2, 2013 at 2:53 PM

        Actually, koufaxmitzvah, the standard player contract prohibits lots of things, such as riding motorcycles (see, Kemp, Steve) or playing basketball (see Boone, Aaron who’s basketball injury voided his Yankees contract which led to them getting A-Rod.)

        So a prohibition on going to shady clinics or getting dubious “supplements” fits right in.

    • rpearlston - Oct 2, 2013 at 4:46 PM

      Define “supplement”, please.

      It happens that I take a number of supplements on a daily basis, and every one of them has been recommended or approved by my doctors, but every one of them is completely legal. Chances are that you or someone whom you know is doing the same. Glucosamine is a supplement. Co-Enzyme Q-10 is a supplement. Calcium is a supplement. The list goes on.

      So, while I agree with you on your first sentence, you still need to define “supplement”. Be careful as you do so.

  4. Kevin S. - Oct 2, 2013 at 11:36 AM

    I know that there was no positive test, but A) given A-Rod’s prior usage history and B) his knowledge of baseball’s strict liabilty standards regarding positive testing, I find it hard to believe he didn’t fully vet what he was taking. Only this that could possibly hold up is “I ordered legal drug A and was given banned drug B,” but he’d still have a bear of a time establishing why Bosch would do that.

  5. banger60 - Oct 2, 2013 at 11:39 AM


  6. chip56 - Oct 2, 2013 at 11:45 AM

    If Alex didn’t know what he was taking was bad then why did he try to purchase and destroy records that said what he was taking?

    • Kevin S. - Oct 2, 2013 at 11:52 AM

      Allegedly. Sorry, MLB has floated a bunch of stuff to pliant columnists that turned out to be utter bullshit. The A-Rod buying docs story gave them plenty of cover for their own shady evidence-collecting methods. Until some kind of independent corroboration on that comes out, I’m not buying what they’re selling.

    • Kevin S. - Oct 2, 2013 at 11:57 AM

      And while I’m not really buying the “I didn’t know what I took” defense, I don’t think it’s inconsistent that somebody could inadvertantly take something banned, then upon finding himself in the midst of an investigation attempt to cover his usage up knowing it’s unlikely anybody would buy his excuse.

      • chip56 - Oct 2, 2013 at 12:01 PM

        Even if it were true that Alex didn’t know what he was taking ignorance is no defense. It is up to the players to make sure that any substances they take conform to the JDA.

      • Kevin S. - Oct 2, 2013 at 4:31 PM

        Which I stated earlier. Way to not respond to anything I said.

  7. peymax1693 - Oct 2, 2013 at 11:49 AM

    I was hoping A-Rod would have offered a better defense. I am starting to wonder why he wouldn’t have agreed to a reduced suspension.

    • Kevin S. - Oct 2, 2013 at 11:53 AM

      We have no idea what, if any, reduced suspension he was offered.

  8. mogogo1 - Oct 2, 2013 at 11:54 AM

    Well, since he didn’t know what he was taking, it was a good thing the drug tests were able to clear that up for him!

  9. icanspeel - Oct 2, 2013 at 12:02 PM

    “I had no idea what they were injecting to my butt, I thought it was multi-vitamins”

  10. massconn72 - Oct 2, 2013 at 12:16 PM

    What a lying POS!

  11. chiadam - Oct 2, 2013 at 12:21 PM

    They had months to sit around and come up with something, and this is what they settled on?

  12. pisano - Oct 2, 2013 at 12:25 PM

    Ignorance excuse? who could argue with that? he was ignorant to try and lie his way through this crap.

  13. rhmurphy - Oct 2, 2013 at 12:30 PM

    Is “affirmative” case the correct way to describe it just because he didn’t fail a test?

  14. DelawarePhilliesFan - Oct 2, 2013 at 1:08 PM

    “What is being reported is NOT true.”

    Reminds me of the infamous 60 minutes interview with Gov. Bill Clinton:

    “Gennifer Flowers claims you two had a 12 year affair”
    “That allegation is false”

    Later we found out that it was false, besause it was only a 9 year affair

    • mtr75 - Oct 2, 2013 at 1:50 PM

      Reminds me of the infamous interview with Vice President Richard B. “Dick” Cheney:

      “Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction.”

      Later, after 20,000 dead soldiers and 200,000 wounded, we found out it was false.

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - Oct 2, 2013 at 2:05 PM

        I was going to add “This is not a politcal comment” – but I knew no matter what I said, people would go nuts anyway.

      • mtr75 - Oct 2, 2013 at 2:26 PM

        Oh yes, it was CLEARLY not a political comment! How could anyone take a comment about Bill Clinton having an affair on an article about baseball as being political? How silly of me!

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - Oct 2, 2013 at 3:03 PM

        Relax dude – people have been making jokes about Clitnon and affairs since before he was Prez. Not to mention it was good illustration of allowing wiggle room in a statement.

        You have a good day

      • mtr75 - Oct 3, 2013 at 12:50 PM

        I’m perfectly relaxed, “dude”. And you’re a complete clown.

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - Oct 3, 2013 at 3:29 PM

        Well, then relaxed dude, allow me to thank you in full for telling me what I really was thinking. Didn’t even know myself until you came along

        You have a good day

      • dexterismyhero - Oct 2, 2013 at 2:27 PM

        They are in Syria mtr75. And have been for quite a while.

      • mtr75 - Oct 3, 2013 at 12:51 PM

        Suuuuuuure they are, because the aptly-named Dick just couldn’t have been wrong, right?

  15. retief1954 - Oct 2, 2013 at 1:32 PM

    Wow. With THAT kind of dishonest, disingenuous claim, A-Rod would fit right in with the Republican caucus in Congress.

    • bakedbees - Oct 2, 2013 at 2:03 PM

      Right because Obamacare is good for America; just ask the Unions, taxpayers and small businesses. The Democrats bribe the uneducated with handouts…how’s that free cell phone I bought you working out? …and by taxpayers, I mean the 50% who actually pay an income tax.

      • mtr75 - Oct 2, 2013 at 2:29 PM

        Then you don’t mean “taxpayers”, you mean “income tax payers”. Everyone pays taxes. Everyone.

    • dexterismyhero - Oct 2, 2013 at 2:30 PM

      Wow. With THAT kind of dishonest, disingenuous claim, A-Rod would fit right in with the POTUS.

      There, fixed it for you. Now go transfer to the Obamacare website and order your meds.

    • righthandofjustice - Oct 2, 2013 at 8:21 PM

      What? Even a person with an IQ of 80 can tell who made THAT kind of dishonest, disingenuous claim. Obviously somebody and the organization behind him has been trying to put words in A-Rod’s mouth.

      If A-Rod DENIED what that “source” said and he lied you bet Selig and Manfred would be barking loudly in the media now. You think the arbitrator is a fool? He heard everything A-Rod said.

  16. beachnbaseball - Oct 2, 2013 at 1:37 PM

    Back in January, a spokesperson for Rodriguez made the following statement regarding the report in the Miami New Times about Biogenesis:

    “The news report about a purported relationship between Alex Rodriguez and Anthony Bosch are not true,” the statement read. “He was not Mr. Bosch’s patient, he was never treated by him and he was never advised by him. The purported documents referenced in the story — at least as they relate to Alex Rodriguez — are not legitimate.”

    So now he’s saying he did know Bosch and thought the stuff he bought through Biogenesis was legal. Misremembered?

    Yeah, right!

    • chip56 - Oct 2, 2013 at 2:50 PM

      Well put.

  17. coloradogolfcoupons - Oct 2, 2013 at 2:58 PM

    Gotta love the politicians chiming. Lovely baseball talk. Well Done! Now fuck off.

  18. mauldawg - Oct 2, 2013 at 3:13 PM

    Just your every day drug head and now a liar. A Rod couldn’t tell the truth if his life depended on it. What a scum bucket.

  19. rpearlston - Oct 2, 2013 at 4:12 PM

    The “I didn’t know what was in it” defense has been tried time and time again, and always found wanting.

    Years ago, a Canadian female rower was disqualified because she had used a banned substance. It turned out that she had a cold and went to the team doctor to ask what she could take to help with it. The doctor gave her a product name, but there were (and continue to be) a number of variations under that name. She chose one, went back to her hotel room, and took it. The next day, when she was tested, she was tossed.

    Why was she tossed if she had gotten the right product name? Because the variation that she chose contained ephedrine, a legal substance for the most part, but one banned by sports associations. She was still found to be guilty in that case, and I agreed with that sentence. Yes she had gotten the right product name, but when she got back to the hotel, she didn’t then ask the doctor if this was the correct formulation, and it turned out that she hadn’t.

    That was the closest I’ve ever heard of to someone making an innocent mistake and still being punished for it.

    There is absolutely no reason whatsoever to think that the arrogant, sniveling, man-child formerly known as A-Rod made a series of similar innocent mistakes.

    • Kevin S. - Oct 2, 2013 at 4:36 PM

      JC Romero says ‘hi.’

  20. dlf9 - Oct 2, 2013 at 4:34 PM

    The NYDN has been carrying the league’s and the Yankees’ water on everything Rodriguez related all season. Forget taking this with a grain of salt, this should be ignored completely. Think it through — the arbitration hearing is closed to all public; the people there are under directions to keep the matter confidential; the arbitrator can rule against a party that violates that confidentiality; yesterday was the first day of the proceeding; the only witness called was Bosch and he has only been questioned by the league and not subject to cross examintaion. Maybe it was addressed in opening statements, but how this gets to the NYDN is either someone running from the hearing room straight to a phone to violate express directions of the hearing officer or the paper is using a source with no knowledge or worse making it up.

    • rpearlston - Oct 2, 2013 at 5:01 PM

      And no one serving/having served on a grand jury has ever had a bit too much to drink and, as a result, has said too much about it’s proceedings. It doesn’t even have to be a member of the gj – there are court clerks and guards who are there, too, and whose tongues can be loosened by anything, including by their own consciences.

      And that, children, is how you and I find out about secret stuff. Let that be a lesson to you, that just because someones say’s that they’ll keep your secret, it doesn’t mean that they will keep your secret.

      • righthandofjustice - Oct 2, 2013 at 5:29 PM

        It is unethical for a journalist not to verify the source of the information. He also has the responsibility to make correction in his article as soon as he finds out what is factual.

        Nobody can continue his writing based on bogus or unverifiable information and cry “freedom of the press”.

  21. righthandofjustice - Oct 2, 2013 at 4:46 PM

    “Will this persuade the arbitrator that A-Rod actually was duped?”

    ROFL. Absolutely not. In fact, this ruthless rumor spreading tactics will only convince the arbitrator “some organization(s)” are out there to try to fool the public. Bear in mind the arbitrator is the only one responsible for judging this appeal. He doesn’t want anybody fooling around with his judgement. His professional Board won’t appreciate it neither. To this ruthless “anonymous source”, he also has more to worry about getting tangled up in an organized crime charge, as well as defamation when the Fed shift into full speed mode in its own Biogenesis investigation.

  22. dabluebery - Oct 2, 2013 at 4:49 PM

    I honestly don’t understand how anyone could have culpability if the only evidence that exists is one person’s word against another. “I believed I was taking legal substances and I did not fail a test…. Are we done here?”

  23. pugsley927 - Oct 2, 2013 at 4:55 PM


  24. joestemme - Oct 2, 2013 at 9:56 PM

    F#$K A-Roid.

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