Major League Baseball has taken its lumps for doling out a season-plus-49-game suspension against star Alex Rodriguez in the latest doping scandal.
But an arbitrator upheld, with modification, the suspension, reducing it to effectively keep Rodriguez off the field for the 2014 season. Rodriguez, for his part, says he will appeal the suspension, though MLB and the players union both agree under contract to the arbitrator's ruling being final.
What's worse is, even though the league has been upheld, the players' association is ripping into the league for commenting about the suspension in the wake of a CBS-TV "60 Minutes" piece on Sunday night. That piece features the seller of the growth hormone Rodriguez is alleged to have used, saying he indeed shot the player with the steroids, and that Rodriguez allegedly took testosterone lozenges before games. The arbitrator also was on "60 Minutes."
We'll note that Rodriguez' attorney also has commented about the appeal, so we're left wondering if the Major League Baseball Players Association is looking for something to use as a bargaining chip when contract time comes up in 2016.
As we said above, Major League Baseball was taking a pounding from baseball fans about making a big example out of Rodriguez without knowing all the facts. Baseball was, in effect, defining why the suspension was so large.
The integrity of the game is bigger than any one player, and if MLB is trying to establish a steroid-free culture at last, then it must come clean with embarassing details when another of its biggest stars is caught. No violation of the rulebook there.