"60 Minutes" has once again stoked controversy -- this time, not for shoddy reporting, but for giving airtime to Major League Baseball's star witness in the doping case against Yankees all-star Alex Rodriguez. Now, Rodriguez's lawyer, the MLB and MLB players union are in a row over the appearance of Tony Bosch, the man who supplied A-Rod with performance-enhancing drugs.
Bosch ran the now-shuttered Florida clinic Biogenesis, through which he provided A-Rod with several banned drugs worth $12,000 per month that included testosterone and human growth hormone.
The details of the relationship have never been made public, however, because the Joint Drug Agreement and Collective Bargaining Agreement requires confidentiality from both sides.
Bosch told "60 Minutes" that he started working with Rodriguez in 2010, five days before the three-time AL MVP hit his 600th home run. Beating the drug tests was a "cake walk," said Bosch. Rodriguez didn't fail a single drug test while working with Bosch.
Rodriguez has been suspended for 162 games and all playoff games next season, a penalty reduced on Saturday from 211 games. Rodriguez's lawyer, Joseph Tacopina, plans to challenge the ruling.
But MLB Commisioner Bud Selig, who also appeared on the program, thinks the original ruling was more fair. "In my judgment his actions were beyond comprehension," said Selig. "I think 211 games was a very fair penalty."
Tacopina, who also appeared on the show, said in a statement that "Tonight's further expansion of Bud Selig and [MLB COO] Rob Manfred's quest to destroy Alex Rodriguez goes beyond comprehension."
"Tonight's further expansion of Bud Selig and Rob Manfred's quest to destroy Alex Rodriguez goes beyond comprehension. In a clearly pre-orchestrated display, Selig and Manfred, having known for some time what the result of the arbitration would be (in light of Manfred sitting on the arbitration panel) put forth an unparalleled display of hubris and vindictiveness - complete with Manfred appearing in tandem with the drug dealer Tony Bosch, both in full makeup, celebrating the joint victory of Bosch's lies and Manfred's intimidation and payments for testimony. Tonight MLB violated every underpinning of its Basic Agreement and Joint Drug Agreement with the Players Association - which, although it has spoken out in a statement against these actions, clearly does not have the fortitude to act to stop these abuses, as it has not taken advantage of any of its innumerable opportunities to do so over the past year.
"I am sure Selig and Manfred believe this traveling circus serves Manfred's hopes of being the next Commissioner; the departing Commissioner Selig's hopes of parlaying his success thus far in persecuting Alex into a recast chapter in the history books that would show him as a crusader, rather than the owner that colluded to corrupt the game, and Commissioner that turned a blind eye to steroids for over 20 years while personally profiting from their prevalence to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars; and Tony Bosch's hopes to further capitalize upon his lies through a multi-million dollar book deal that his MLB-provided media agent is seeking to procure for him. But in fact, what they did tonight, in addition to dragging 60 Minutes' name down to the level of supermarket tabloid journalism, is provide the world with further evidence of Bud Selig and Rob Manfred's desperation to sell the fans on the lies that they have paid Tony Bosch to tell.
"Perhaps the clearest message delivered by Selig and Manfred tonight is that their quest to rehabilitate Selig's irretrievable reputation, and to make Manfred appear tough on PEDs, surely will lead MLB to seek to abolish guaranteed contracts in the 2016 bargaining round, and institute lifetime bans for single violations of drug policy, all while further insulating its corrupt investigative program from any variety defense by accused players, or any variety of objective review. Every MLB player, and indeed every fan, should not only be disgusted by tonight's Salem Witch Trials display, but they also should be deeply troubled by what it portends for the future trampling of players' rights, and the distraction and damage this will cause to the game.
"Alex will continue to fight to vindicate his rights - among the fans, and in a genuine judicial forum.'
The MLBPA also criticized the MLB for participating in the segment:
"It is unfortunate that Major League Baseball apparently lacks faith in the integrity and finality of the arbitrator's decision and our Joint Drug Agreement, such that it could not resist the temptation to publicly pile-on against Alex Rodriguez. It is equally troubling that the MLB-appointed Panel Arbitrator will himself be appearing in the '60 Minutes' segment, and that Tony Bosch, MLB's principal witness, is appearing on the program with MLB's blessing.
"MLB's post-decision rush to the media is inconsistent with our collectively-bargained arbitration process, in general, as well as the confidentiality and credibility of the Joint Drug Agreement, in particular. After learning of tonight's ''60 Minutes'' segment, Players have expressed anger over, among other things, MLB's inability to let the result of yesterday's decision speak for itself. As a result, the Players Association is considering all legal options available to remedy any breaches committed by MLB.
"Throughout this process the Players Association has repeatedly shown it is committed to an effective drug program that is strong and fair. And as we indicated in our statement yesterday, although we do not agree with the arbitrator's decision, we respect the process and will act accordingly. We believe the other involved parties should do the same."
The MLB has defended itself against the attack, issuing the following response:
"We have notified the Major League Baseball Players Association on numerous occasions that we intended to respond to all of the attacks on the integrity of our Joint Drug Program. Those attacks continued yet again yesterday with Mr. Rodriguez's statement. Out of respect to the grievance process and at the request of the MLBPA, we waited until a decision was rendered to make our response.
"It is ironic that the MLBPA is complaining about MLB's participation in this program given that Mr. Rodriguez's lawyer is also participating in the show.
"As to Mr. Bosch's appearance, he is not controlled by us and is entitled to speak however he chooses about his interactions with Mr. Rodriguez."