Sometimes Lawyers Are Too Clever for Their Own Good
I saw an article on espn.com today to the effect that Alex Rodriguez‘s main litigation/trial attorney Joseph Tacopina wants MLB to release the full testimony of Rob Manfred, MLB’s chief operating officer (and quite possibly MLB’s next commissioner) in the ongoing ARod performance enhancing drug (“PED”) arbitration hearing. It seems that Manfred testified that MLB knew and was not particularly concerned that Anthony Bosch, the principal behind Biogenesis America, ARod’s alleged PED supplier, sold PEDs to minors before they agreed to work with Bosch in going after ARod.
Apparently, ARod’s attorney wants to show that MLB is dirty by dealing with Bosch to prove that ARod bought PEDs from Bosch, because MLB knew that Bosch was a scumbag. Wait a minute — as I understand it, there is basically no dispute that ARod had dealings with Bosch — MLB says ARod got PEDs from Bosch, while ARod is reputedly claiming that he purchased only legal supplements from Bosch. Doesn’t showing that Bosch is the kind of guy who would sell PEDs to minors suggest that ARod probably wasn’t buying milk protein, vitamins and flax seed oil (God love you, Barry Bonds) from the guy? It sounds a little like Krusty the Clown claiming, “I only used non-diseased meat from diseased animals!” in producing the Krusty-burger.
Lawyers can get mighty cute when the facts aren’t in their favor. In such circumstances, you often hear arguments that assume that the listener is just plain stupid and can’t think even one step beyond the claim asserted.
Clearly, MLB’s current stand against PED use (yes, MLB and its fans, including this one, blindly closed their eyes to rampant steroid use from the early 1990’s through the early 2000’s, but MLB has gone hard after PED users since then, even as it damages its brand doing so, while the NFL and the NHL, for two examples, simply pretend there there is no major problem in their sports since they don’t make much effort to catch anyone) sends a message to young baseball players that steroid use carries potentially serious career consequences no matter how much they might improve an individual player’s performance.
Another thing that galls me is the way each side in the ARod case claims to have the high ground by accusing the other side of leaking contractually-required-confidential information while themselves leaking whatever such information they believe helps their side. Yes, neither side has entirely clean hands. At the end of the day, however, the issue in question is whether ARod used performance enhancing drugs. whether MLB has sufficient admissible evidence to prove he did, and what the appropriate penalty is under the collective bargaining agreement if he did, indeed, use PEDs (my educated guess is a suspension somewhere between 50 and 117 games).
I don’t think a professional arbitrator (or a later-reviewing judge) is going to give much weight to what MLB may or may not have known about the extent of Tony Bosch’s scum-baggery before cutting a deal with him. If MLB can prove ARod had dealings with Bosch, and from the information currently available that seems likely, ARod isn’t doing himself any favors by shouting from the rooftops that Bosch is the kind of guy who would sell adulterated milk to school children.