Ethics Corrupter: Yankee Third Baseman Alex Rodriquez; Ethics Dunce: Yankee Manager Joe Girardi; Disgraced: The New York Yankees



Today, Major League Baseball announced that it was suspending Alex Rodriquez, the New York Yankees aging superstar, for the remainder of the 2013 season and the 2014 season for  using banned performance enhancing drugs, and impeding baseball’s investigation of his cheating. This was the climax (but not the end) of a long, drawn out, messy process and investigation involving a sleazy Miami drug lab, called Biogenesis, now closed down, which had records indicating that many professional baseball players had obtained banned substances.

Former National League MVP Ryan Braun (who I keep calling “Steve”) has already been banned for the rest of the year by the evidence obtained from Biogenesis records. The process has been marred by serial leaks from MLB  (unfair to the players involved, including Rodriquez) and ugly maneuvering between Rodriguez, who has been recovering from a serious hip issue, and the Yankees, who owe him approximately a gazillion dollars (thanks to an idiotic career contract signed in 2007 after he had already admitted to using steroids once), would like nothing more than for him to vanish in a puff of smoke and sulfur.

To explain the baroque ins and outs of baseball’s steroid wars, its player union relations, and the various intersecting agreements, special clauses and other things that have an impact on Rodriquez’s suspension would take too long here and would even bore the baseball fans. What you need to know now is this:

  • Rodriguez is a probable narcissist and sociopath. He is definitely a liar.
  • There is literally no doubt that baseball has him dead to rights on the fact that he used banned PEDs over an extensive period of time and many seasons, and lied publicly about the extent of his use of them. Almost nobody questions this. In terms of proving what ARod did, the case isn’t George Zimmerman. It isn’t even O.J. Simpson. This is Ariel Castro. All the other players suspended today by Major League Baseball, as well as Braun, are less definitely guilty than ARod, based on the Biogenesis records…and they have all accepted their punishment, because the evidence against them is conclusive.
  • This means that Rodriguez is a cheat. One of the greatest players ever to put on spikes—there is no question about that, either—Alex Rodriguez chose to cheat and to use his prominence to undermine the game’s credibility and integrity rather than to bolster it.

This brings us to today, August 5, 2013. By some sadistic quirk of fate, this day on which Rodriguez has been officially banned for two seasons for cheating and conduct detrimental to the game is also the day on which he has been deemed healthy enough to play at the major league level for the first time this season. Rodriguez, unlike the other players, has announced that he wants and intends to play, and that he is appealing his suspension. The traditionally slow appeals process could take many months, and while he appeals, the rules of the sport allow him to continue to play baseball during the process.

Let’s be clear: his right to appeal is unquestioned. Why is he appealing? Well, he’s a baseball player, and  playing is what he does. He is apparently immune to shame, like all sociopaths; he doesn’t care that he will be humiliating his team, his sport and his city by setting foot out on the field after he has been officially named as baseball’s worst cheat since Barry Bonds; and mostly because as soon as a he accepts the suspension, he stops getting paid. Playing through this year will mean another 30 million dollars are so in his portfolio, and his chances of getting any of that 100 million plus dollar contract after he sits out a season and a half are slim at best. The Yankees won’t have to pay him while he’s suspended, and by the time ARod has served his punishment, he will be over 40. Rodriquez is an old, broken down player already. His superstar days are over. This is his probably last opportunity to squeeze every last bit of cash out of the team that he tricked into signing him to a ten year deal. Besides, he could win the appeal. You never know.

Does Alex need the money? Unless he has suffered some financial catastrophe that missed the news, he certainly does not. A baseball player who valued his reputation, integrity, accountability, or legacy more than some extra millions in cold, hard cash would make the ethical decision and decide that it was better for everyone, especially the game and its fans he lied to and betrayed, to accept his punishment and allow the game to heal. Rodriquez, however, is not such a player. We knew that already.

The position of the Yankees is uncomfortable. Until their despicable and greatly-diminished third baseman is suspended, retires or is hit by a truck, they are stuck with paying him among the richest contracts in the sport. Moreover, the team is desperate. It is old, injured, and getting worse: only a lot of good luck and Mariano Rivera have kept the Yankees (it is the most successful and storied team in the history of professional sport) from total collapse, and that still may be coming. It has among the worst right-handed hitting records so far of any team in history, and the position of third base has been manned by the worst performers of all. ARod, even as a shadow of his former self, will be a massive upgrade. Could this be enough to pull the team out of its sinkhole and propel it into an American League play-off spot? It’s baseball, Ray…anything can happen. Still, the answer is probably no.

Yankee manager Joe Girardi isn’t an ethicist, he’s a career baseball man, and paid to win games for the New York Yankees. He has announced that ARod is in the Yankee line-up in tonight’s game, and batting fourth, clean-up. Joe would say that baseballs’ discipline and politics are above his pay grade, and all he is doing is putting the best team he can out on the field, “best team” meaning “the one most likely to score more runs than the other team.” I understand that, but he is tragically wrong.

By playing ARod, Girardi is voluntarily placing a proven, though not finally proven, cheat on the field, as part of the New York Yankees. For all he or anyone knows, Rodriguez is still using PED’s….why wouldn’t he, if he has done so as often as the evidence seems to show?  Girardi’s decision says, unequivocally, that if a player can get away with cheating and not be forced to leave the field, then the New York Yankees are willing to win games using cheaters. This was the same message the San Francisco Giants sent for years as they allowed Barry Bonds to break records in that team’s uniform long after any reasonable doubts about his steroid cheating had evaporated. The New York Yankees, therefore, which have prided themselves since the 1920’s as baseball’s Cadillac franchise, the role model for the sport in every way, winners with class, tell us that the franchise would have placed the New York Yankees hallowed name as the sponsor of Lance Armstrong’s team of bicycle racers if Lance had been allowed to race while dishonestly protesting the huge report that found him to be a drug cheat of epic proportions. Alex Rodriguez, like Barry Bonds before him, is exactly like Armstrong.

Girardi doesn’t have to play ARod, ever. He can leave him on the bench, and preserve his team’s integrity. That is the ethical course. Now the games will be ugly, with dueling fans in every park (those with standards, and those without) trying to boo and cheer the other side into submission. If ARod wins a game, that game will be tainted. When he sets foot on the field in a Yankee uniform, the Yankees will be diminished.

And ARod doesn’t care. He just wants his money, and in the process, he has corrupted everyone, including those who continue to cheer for him.


Sources: NBC Sports 1,2; ESPN 1,2; New York Post

Graphic: Angelino Law

19 thoughts on “Ethics Corrupter: Yankee Third Baseman Alex Rodriquez; Ethics Dunce: Yankee Manager Joe Girardi; Disgraced: The New York Yankees

  1. Aside from being a Grade A narcissist and all the other things you label him, ARod doesn’t strike me as being the sharpest pencil in the drawer.

    Again, baseball’s been gutted by steroids for what, twenty or thirty years now? Barry Bonds-style dingers sell more tickets and bring in better TV ratings than Ty Cobb singles. I would have used the term Pete Rose singles, but who knows, aside from being a compulsive gambler, maybe Pete’s obnoxious hyper-activity was a side effect of the steroids HE was on. The owners, His Budness, the leagues, the players, the sportswriters can all slop around in plenty of blame.

    I have to say that I am very surprised that as a Red Sox fan you didn’t add that the Yankees got what they deserved with ARod. Hah.

  2. I am so glad that this year’s Little League World Series is about to play out on TV – as long as no cheating taints THAT league and tournament, I think that’s going to be all the baseball I will be watching for awhile. Of course, I could be a racist xenophobe, and be suspicious of those non-US teams…

        • But I didn’t say that, not remotely. I didn’t even say that Girardi, who’s playing him, is unethical, but rather ethically ill-equipped—I just think he’s wrong. Leaving ARod on the bench, or releasing him, or suspending him themselves would be more ethical courses of action, but what the team are doing is understandable.

          Rodriguez, however, is a terrible person, and the Yankees know it. The problem is that they should have known it, and probably did, when he signed his last contract.

  3. That is exactly why a athlete should not be paid more than…say….$75K a year….yep ‘ol Alex has a huge chunk of the good old “narcissistic” personality to go along with his whole package….Yankee’s never change..this country encourages cheating….most kids think that is how you get ahead….ethics…they can’t spell it much less understand the meaning. Honesty, trust….when you have leadership in this country that is missing class, honesty, and trust what would a person expect coming from any athlete.

  4. Meanwhile Jhonny Peralta is accepting his suspension with all the usual terrible apologies- “I made a mistake, I regret it, I fully accept responsibility for the harm I’m doing to my team.” Whoops, those PEDs just jumped into me! And more like he regrets getting caught, and accepts responsibility now that he has no other choice…

    Still, he comes off smelling like roses compared to A-Rod

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