New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez ended his legal battle against Major League Baseball (MLB) and its players’ union Friday, agreeing to accept his season-long suspension, the longest in the sports history related to performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs).
Rodriguez, who denies using PEDs while playing for the Yankees, dropped his lawsuits against the league, Commissioner Bud Selig, and the Major League Baseball Players Association. The move comes four weeks after arbitrator Fredric Horowitz reduced Rodriguez’s original 211-game suspension to 162 games and the 2014 playoffs. Rodriguez sued the league and the players’ union two days after Horowitz’s ruling.
Neither Rodriguez nor his lawyers offered any comment on the decision to drop the lawsuits.
“The statements that were issued say everything that needs to be said. We have no further comments on this matter,” said attorney Joseph Tacopina in an email to The Associated Press.
In a statement, MLB called Rodriguez’s decision “prudent,” adding, “We believe that Mr. Rodriguez’s actions show his desire to return the focus to the play of our great game on the field and to all of the positive attributes and actions of his fellow major league players. We share that desire.”
Those fellow players were especially angered by the lawsuit against the players’ union, which also issued a statement, saying, “Alex Rodriguez has done the right thing by withdrawing his lawsuit. His decision to move forward is in everyone’s best interest.”
Rodriguez, who previously admitted to using PEDs while playing for the Texas Rangers in 2001-03, was among 14 players suspended last summer following MLB’s investigation of Biogenesis of America, a Florida anti-aging clinic accused of distributing banned substances. Given the harshest punishment, Rodriguez was the only player to contest his penalty.
Tacopina said Rodriguez, who earlier vowed to join his teammates during spring training, does not intend to report this month to the Yankees’ training camp in Tampa, Fla. His suspensions covers only regular-season games and the postseason, with exhibition games specifically exempted.
Rodriguez will lose most of his $25 million salary this season, but according to Horowitz’s ruling, he is entitled to $2,868,852.46. The third baseman will be 39 when he is eligible to return in 2015, and he has incentive to play during the final three seasons of his contract. The Yankees owe him $21 million next year and $20 million in each of the final two seasons of his record $275 million, 10-year deal.