Howard Simmons/New York Daily News
Alex Rodriguez bites the hand that defends him by suing the MLBPA.
The Major League Baseball Players Association fired back Monday, squarely hitting the man who may have benefited most from the union’s historic battles on behalf of players to ensure the most airtight and lucrative contracts of any professional sport in the United States, and possibly the world.
Tony Clark, who replaced highly regarded union chief Michael Weiner in December after Weiner’s death from a brain tumor, issued a statement late Monday afternoon challenging Rodriguez’s inclusion of the union in the federal lawsuit he filed Monday against MLB and the MLBPA that surely reflected the feelings of Clark’s constituency.
“It is unfortunate that Alex Rodriguez has chosen to sue the Players Association,” Clark wrote in a statement. “His claim is completely without merit, and we will aggressively defend ourselves and our members from these baseless charges.”
Clark was especially outraged that Rodriguez chose to attack Weiner in his lawsuit, questioning Weiner’s comments in a Daily News interview last summer in which he said that if Major League Baseball has overwhelming evidence linking a player to a violation of the Joint Drug Agreement, the union would recommend the player make a deal. “We’re not interested in having players with overwhelming evidence that they violated the (drug) program out there,” Weiner said then. “Most of the players aren’t interested in that. We’d like to have a clean program.”
In a radio interview, Weiner later said he had suggested to Rodriguez a number that he might find palatable in terms of a suspension, a comment also included in Rodriguez’s lawsuit.
“The Players Association has vigorously defended Mr. Rodriguez’s rights throughout the Biogenesis investigation, and indeed throughout his career,” Clark said. “Mr. Rodriguez’s allegation that the Association has failed to fairly represent him is outrageous, and his gratuitous attacks on our former Executive Director, Michael Weiner, are inexcusable. When all is said and done, I am confident the Players Association will prevail.”