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Tacopina: A-Rod has not used any illegal PEDs since his 2009 confession

Oct 23, 2013, 9:13 AM EDT

Joe Tacopina

Personally: I’d limit my defense of A-Rod to one centering on the disproportionate suspension he received rather than argue that he didn’t take any PEDs at all. Partially because of what the Biogenesis documents are reported to contain, partially because no one else associated with Biogenesis has claimed that they didn’t do it and partially because I don’t feel like I’d trust A-Rod enough to take his word for it.

Oh, also: I don’t feel like a lot of other people would buy it either. Better to err on the side of plausibility, yes?

Well, I’m not Joe Tacopina. And Mr. Tacopina is known to take bold stances. He’s doing so again:

Tacopina told CNN that Rodriguez had “absolutely not” taken illegal PEDs recently and challenged the notion that MLB possesses any evidence to the contrary.

As we’ve seen in the past, it’s possible to parse the term “illegal” in the phrase “illegal PEDs.” MLB bans lots of things, after all, that you, I or anyone else can go purchase at GNC or get from a physician. There’s also that whole bit about how stuff that is illegal here is not illegal in other countries. There’s also the fact that a lawyer saying something to CNN is different than actually arguing such a thing in an arbitration and that Tacopina has been all about the P.R. aspects of this case for some time.

Still, pretty interesting tack to take. As is some of the stuff in the linked article describing how this case is turning into a battle between MLB and A-Rod to portray the other as being sleazier in its efforts to obtain evidence.

  1. deathmonkey41 - Oct 23, 2013 at 9:25 AM

    I’m still wondering why none of these guys tested positive during this span. Is it possible that none of them got randomly tested in several years time? Or is the testing just not really working against guys who have the money to buy the better stuff?

    • aceshigh11 - Oct 23, 2013 at 9:48 AM

      I tend to think the latter.

      There’s gotta be BIG money for chemists who are into developing new undetectable strains of PEDs (think Breaking Bad…yeah, I know, my second BB reference today…I’ve been on a Netflix tear).

      It’s disheartening to think that there are still a lot of guys using who are just outwitting the existing testing system, but that may be the case.

    • mcsnide - Oct 23, 2013 at 10:02 AM

      Per the JDA, each player is tested at least twice during the season, plus being subject to further random tests (to prevent a guy from having his second test in June, then loading up on whatever he wants for the rest of the year).

      • nudeman - Oct 23, 2013 at 1:13 PM

        First, with the recent revelation of the guy who was paying off the tester (can’t remember who, or even what sport), if you think testing in ANY sport is 100% clean & pure itself, I submit that’s not the case. Testing is done by human beings. They make errors and they’re prone to being bought off or getting corrupted by hanging around with stars.

        Secondly, there is not a single thing A-Rod or his bombastic mouthpiece Tacopina could say on this subject that has even a fiber of credibility. He’s lied, lied, lied and lied over the years. So now with his back up against the wall and facing his biggest punishment ever and with nothing to lose he’s going to tell the truth? Does anybody really believe that?

        Lastly, Selena Rpberts is the reporter who’s investigated this guy more thoroughly than anyone else I’m aware of. She is the one who went down to Florida a few years ago and first exposed his usage; and she’s talked to tens of people – maybe hundreds – who’ve been involved with A-Rod over his entire career. I believe she has written that it is possible, maybe even likely, that he has NEVER played a single MLB game clean. Juicing from the very beginning. Is that true? I don’t know, but there’s nothing about his character that makes me think he’d ever have been above it.

    • mornelithe - Oct 23, 2013 at 2:00 PM

      For the same reason Lance Armstrong was able to get away with it as long as he did, the tests aren’t able to keep up with the drugs. It’s far more lucrative to sell ways to cheat the system, then to ensure it works. You get paid for selling them the drugs, and then paid more for selling them ways to cheat the system. As is my understanding, that’s why athlete’s sought out Biogenesis, for their ability to circumvent current testing methodology.

      Armstrong’s ultimate undoing was he involved waaaaay too many people. It’s much harder to silence a crowd, than it is a few people who’d be just as damaged if the information were to be made public.

      • allsport1980 - Oct 23, 2013 at 2:18 PM

        Can we never bring up Selena Roberts again! She is a hack writer who wrote a terrible book that was unauthorized so she had little to no access to anyone who actually deals with AROD in any meaningful way. Also, she neglected to release 104 names on the list she pulled AROD from so her idea of the truth only centers on her ability to cash the biggest check. She is about as honest a person as AROD and she shouldn’t be brought into this conversation ever.

      • mogogo1 - Oct 23, 2013 at 2:26 PM

        I was amazed at how many people Armstrong told directly. Sure, his teammates who were also doping would have known, but there were several wives and girlfriends who heard straight from him about the doping. He even doped right in front of Sheryl Crow and told her all about it when he could have just taken the transfusion elsewhere or lied that it was something legal. I guess the divorced guy never thought he or any of his teammates would go through a break-up again.

      • mornelithe - Oct 23, 2013 at 4:31 PM

        Allsport1980 – Hack/false journalism is a dime a dozen this day and age, it’s nothing new, and short of making it illegal to report falsified information, it’ll never stop. Why it was never a law is beyond me, until it is…every two-bit loser with an agenda is going to write whatever they want, knowing full well they can get away with it.

        Mogogo1 – I know right? For probably the biggest doping scandal in the history of sports (that we know of), that’s gotta be some of stupidest would-be criminals to ever grace the stage.

  2. aceshigh11 - Oct 23, 2013 at 9:31 AM

    Man, this Tacopina guy has “shyster” written all over him.

    Does he share office space with Saul “Better Call Saul” Goodman?

  3. NYTolstoy - Oct 23, 2013 at 9:45 AM

    Also remember someone around A-rod or A-rod himself (i’m not sure) tried to buy those documents from Biogenesis for a million bucks. That plus everything else doesn’t really peg A-rod as innocent.

    • allsport1980 - Oct 23, 2013 at 2:03 PM

      That simply isn’t a true statement. According to leaks by MLB that were reported as facts is a lot different than something that is a substantiated truth. Both MLB and AROD have admitted to purchasing information, but MLB has actually admitted to buying “evidence” against AROD, AROD apparently has admitted to buying “evidence” against MLB and its investigative team to prove his case against them.

      At the end of the day if you are holding evidence and you’re tight on money and someone offers $150K or $1mill which offer are you taking? If AROD had offered to pay $1mill then MLB would never have had anything on him at all.

      • righthandofjustice - Oct 23, 2013 at 3:31 PM

        The evidence MLB bought was the “evidence” MLB claimed A-Rod bought and attempted to destroy.

        A-Rod didn’t buy “evidence”. He paid for the services of two private investigators to obtain information regarding a potential immoral and unethical bargain between a MLB investigator and a female Biogenesis empolyee and the tape that recorded another MLB investigator paid $125,000 for the very same Biogenesis documents that MLB accused A-Rod bought. Later, Manfred admitted he himself was the one who authorized the $125,000 payment:

        “A source said the $105,000 went for a cell phone purportedly containing sexually suggestive text messages between MLB investigator Dan Mullin and a female witness who worked at Biogenesis. The $200,000 went for a tape of the exchange of $125,000 in cash from an MLB investigator to Gary Jones, a former Biogenesis employee, for documents from the clinic. Both charges were featured in Rodriguez’s lawsuit against MLB, which was filed on Oct. 4.”

    • anxovies - Oct 23, 2013 at 2:11 PM

      In an April 12, 2013, article the New York Times reported, “Major League Baseball has concluded that Rodriguez bought such [Biogenesis] documents to keep investigators from obtaining them.” Other parts of the story mention that various former employees of the clinic and others have put up documents for sale and that MLB was attempting to purchase clinic documents. The article mentions “an untold number of documents swirling around.” It reminds you of the stories about the Crusaders purchasing splinters of the True Cross from locals in the Holy Land. If all of the relics were genuine the True Cross would have been a hundred feet high and weighed ten tons. An active imagination can conceive of numerous cottage industries in South Florida churning out documents. A boon to the depressed local economy, no doubt.

      • righthandofjustice - Oct 23, 2013 at 3:34 PM

        So where is the evidence?

        Though, a couple of days ago I saw a full page ad on New York Times with Bud Selig’s “handsome face” on it with the message

        Who is Public Enemy no. 1 in Baseball?

      • ilovegspot - Oct 23, 2013 at 4:23 PM

        Bud forgot to give righthandofj a reacharround.

  4. Carl Hancock - Oct 23, 2013 at 9:46 AM

    @deathmonkey41 – it’s a cat and mouse game. Lance Armstrong tested negative all the time and was using the whole time and they have stricter testing than MLB. There’s always away to beat the system and guys like ARod have the money and means to use them. They get caught when they are stupid and make a mistake. Testing has gotten better but it’s by no means eradicated PED’s from the game. There are ways to take certain PED’s at night and they’re not of your system in the morning but you still get the benefits. There are also newer PED’s that simply don’t show up on tests because the tests aren’t designed to test for them yet. It’s a constant battle and always will be with the amount of money athletes stand to make if they perform at a high level. PED’s make ok athletes good, good athletes great, and great athletes legendary.

    • rbj1 - Oct 23, 2013 at 11:07 AM

      It turns out that Lance also manipulated the testing system. There were times when a collector would go to his house and he’d pretend not to be home (you’re supposed to inform your sport’s federation of when you’ll be where.) And then after winning a race he’d have his doctor replace his dirty blood with clean blood before getting tested. The cycling federation had to be aware of these irregularities and deliberately chose to do nothing.

  5. Carl Hancock - Oct 23, 2013 at 9:49 AM

    @aceshigh11 – Saul Goodman was a better lawyer than this guy. He was shady but he got the job done. This guy ARod has representing is just doing even more damage to his reputation. But I think ARod is at the point where he knows he can’t salvage his reputation. He just wants to salvage as much money as he can from the remaining years on his contract, most likely via a settlement… then he’ll retire into obscurity where he belongs.

  6. stex52 - Oct 23, 2013 at 9:49 AM

    Spot on. He can probably say “illegal” and get away with it, as long as you define the parameters for legality properly (can you take it with a prescription, etc).

    Otherwise, he’s just shilling. That’s what lawyers do for the press. The hearing will no doubt be different.

    • Old Gator - Oct 23, 2013 at 10:16 AM

      And you can believe Joe Tacopina because he never lies and he’s always right.

      • stex52 - Oct 23, 2013 at 10:29 AM

        That’s “Tirebiter”, not “Tacopina.”

      • Old Gator - Oct 23, 2013 at 3:14 PM

        That’s “George LeRoi Tirebiter,” not “Joe Tirebiter.”

    • raym64 - Oct 23, 2013 at 1:47 PM

      Yes, but don’t forget that there are many “legal” performance enhancers on the vitamin shelf at Walmart, GNC, etc that are banned by MLB and will get you suspended for using.

      • Old Gator - Oct 23, 2013 at 3:15 PM

        Why would you need a hardon when you already are a hardon, though?

  7. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Oct 23, 2013 at 10:37 AM

    There is one other possibility to consider: perhaps ARod actually didn’t use any illegal (or banned) PEDs since his 2009 confession (the 2009 confession was about drug use in 2002, so the 2002-2009 period is still gray I suppose).

    I don’t mean to be overly naive, as I probably would not bet any of my own money on ARod being clean, but I have to say that the possibility does certainly exist that ARod has been clean since 2009. Let’s not forget that Tacopina has seen MLB’s whole case, and feels comfortable making this claim. The evidence we have seen about MLB’s behavior in all of this, I would not be shocked to see that they invented all of the ARod story out of whole cloth.

    • dmoas - Oct 23, 2013 at 10:59 AM

      Have you noticed that the only time they’ve asked for full disclosure was for their defense and for testimony that has zero to do with ARod’s case? They’re trying to try their case in the media in the hopes of creating an uproar if it goes south. If the evidence against him were weak, they’d be asking for all prior testimony be disclosed to the public. But they’re not.

      • allsport1980 - Oct 23, 2013 at 2:06 PM

        Who is trying their case in the media…I am not following your comments at all.

      • nudeman - Oct 23, 2013 at 2:19 PM

        Tacopina and A-Rod are trying their case in the media
        I haven’t seen MLB holding pressers on the courthouse steps or anywhere else. Have you?

      • anxovies - Oct 23, 2013 at 2:26 PM

        My understanding is that they want to open the arbitration to the public and MLB is balking. That doesn’t sound like ARod’s camp wants selective disclosure.

      • allsport1980 - Oct 23, 2013 at 2:29 PM

        I saw Bud Selig on Letterman and I read plenty of articles in the print media of MLB sources discussing the case and evidence against AROD. They suspended the player and he appeals and now they are actually presenting their case. MLB has already used the media, so I am not sure what your actually point is? Are you pointing the obvious or ignoring what MLB has done?

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Oct 23, 2013 at 3:28 PM

        Perhaps I misread it, but I believe they are asking for the rest of the arbitration to be public, and that would include ARod’s entire defense, and cross examination etc. And this only after MLB leaked half of their case, then got an injunction against Tacopina & Co. from publicly defending ARod against the leaked info.

    • thepoolshark - Oct 24, 2013 at 9:27 PM

      Jesus, what crack-planet are you from? “Invented all the Arod story out of whole cloth?”

      Are you one of the courthouse protesters hoping for more free food?

      With Sabathia in your name, Being a Yankee homer is understandable. But your selective memory of the facts in this case smacks of crack use.

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Oct 25, 2013 at 11:33 AM

        First of all, let’s get one thing straight. Crack is cheap. I make too much money to ever smoke crack. Let’s get that straight. Okay? We don’t do crack. We don’t do that. Crack is whack.

        I really have not heard to many of the “facts” in this case, since so far all we have heard are unconfirmed leaks and some speculation. I have not heard what evidence MLB has presented, apart from ARod buying evidence about MLB paying people to smear him.

        I am glad to hear that the propoganda machine has you positive that you know the “facts” about this whole thing when nobody else does. Perhaps you can post them here, along with links to evidence, so the rest of us can get caught up?

        BTW, Crack is wack, crack is cheap.

  8. rathipon - Oct 23, 2013 at 12:13 PM

    MLB’s evidence against A-Rod. Some documentation of dubious authenticity and the testimony of a notorious scumbag, paid for, reportedly, by millions of dollars.

    What they don’t have is a positive drug test.

    Interesting to me that players who normally appeal relatively short suspensions chose not to appeal their 50 game penalties. And in Braun’s case, a lot higher. Speculating that they were threatened with much worse punishments should they have the audacity to challenge MLB. It’s baseball discipline, not the criminal justice system, but this smells almost like what you would see in cases of an overzealous criminal prosecutor. Hard to believe that player’s union isn’t crying bloody murder. Hoping MLB and Manfred get their comeuppance on here. Hard to believe they are making people root for A-Rod.

    • ilovegspot - Oct 23, 2013 at 1:57 PM

      You may be right. There are people dumb enough to root for aroid but pretty fkn dumb.

      • allsport1980 - Oct 23, 2013 at 2:10 PM

        Its not hard to “root” for someone if they are indeed being targeted in a “witch hunt” At the end of the day MLB has made themselves seem very petty for their conduct through this whole process.

        The time to have been this angry over PED use was 20 yrs ago, not today. The testing is in place, the rules have been set, and now players have to speak out and get the game clean. It isn’t Bud Selig’s job to send out henchmen to investigate something that was already uncovered. The NFL, NHL, and NBA aren’t worried about this stuff and they shouldn’t be, but MLB is the teenage girl at the party worrying about what everyone else thinks instead of dealing with actual facts.

      • ilovegspot - Oct 23, 2013 at 4:25 PM

        Its not hard for those with sub 100 IQ’s that’s for sure.

  9. keener1951 - Oct 23, 2013 at 12:50 PM

    Tacopina is the lowest of the lowdown slimeball of lawyers. His title is beneath even Junkyard Dog, Ambulance chaser or, Race Baiter. He is in a category all his own. I think he should be nominated to serve as ambassador to Venezuela because he could make claims even more outrageous and false than President Maduro makes on a routine basis. Please President Obama, nominate Mr. Tacopina for this post and let the lies and the posturing begin!

    • anxovies - Oct 23, 2013 at 2:38 PM

      Actually, Tacopina is pretty well regarded as a defense lawyer. He has represented people such as Michael Jackson and the former NYC Police Commissioner in serious criminal cases. You judge a criminal defense attorney by the quality of the clients and the seriousness of the charges, and not whether the defendant is a good guy or bad guy.

      • righthandofjustice - Oct 23, 2013 at 3:38 PM

        I want to see if Tacopina has the skills of a federal prosecutor though. That 100 page document from a whistleblower against MLB will commence something really interesting.

        Civil lawsuits are pretty boring. zzzzz

  10. joestemme - Oct 23, 2013 at 1:11 PM

    Fuc& A-Roid and his illegal PEDs.

  11. rayburns - Oct 23, 2013 at 2:11 PM

    Mr. Tacopina is MLB’s worst nightmare.

    His job is not to win A-Rod’s appeal, his job is to make it uncomfortable for MLB by making outrageous statements,scandalous accusations, and other media-ready soundbites that paint MLB in the worse possible light. The hope being that once MLB sees ‘the brand’ being dragged through the mud on a regular basis by Mr. Tacopina and a willing media, they will decide to cut their losses and settle.

  12. righthandofjustice - Oct 23, 2013 at 2:19 PM

    If A-Rod or his lawyers made a similar statement in June it might be something worth discussing but at this stage public opinions means almost nothing as the REAL government trial is in progress.

    The truth is out there and soon will be revealed. A-Rod’s own hearing is almost done for. There is really no room for public opinions. I bet the reason he didn’t say anything in June was because (1) he knew some MLB morons would find an excuse and said it was a violation of the CBA and (2) witch hunters would still make things up no matter what.

    A-Rod has been smart but Manfred has stupidity written all over his forehead. We live in an era when God Particles are real but witches are not. Civilized people know they have their own opinions and won’t follow the ignorant witch hunting villagers with pitches and forks.

    • ilovegspot - Oct 23, 2013 at 4:27 PM

      Wow, you must have fallen pretty hard on your head as a baby.

  13. txnative61 - Oct 24, 2013 at 2:40 AM

    AROD’s lawyer fails to explain just why his name is connected or contained in any documents at Biogenesis if his client is indeed clean. Considering the grief from previous disclosures, one would think he would remain far from any dubious connections, unless he actually wanted to continue using. As far as Lance Armstrong is concerned, I’ve always wondered how testing distinguished between steroids and the testosterone he routinely injected following testicular cancer surgery. It is widely known he banked sperm prior to surgery removing his testicles to father his children. It was presumed he routinely took artificial testosterone, at least, that would show up in the tests.

    • righthandofjustice - Oct 24, 2013 at 8:40 AM

      You must be really dumb. His lawyers explained his consultation relationship with Biogenesis way back when he was hired:

      As reported by many sources back in March, at least 25 players were found in the Biogenesis documents but only 13 were penalized. Many of them were only found to have gone there for consultation. Among them, Gio Gonzalez.

      Only legal system is based on FACTS, not thumb up, thum down or likes.

      This is not North Korea. Our country is E Paribus Unum!

  14. thepoolshark - Oct 24, 2013 at 4:29 PM

    TacoPenis is defense lawyer. His lips are moving=he’s lying. Arod has lied every time he has ever opened his mouth also. My question is: How the hell do they ever decide on a strategy when they talk to each other?

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