NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Alex Rodriguez has some powerful names in his corner.
As Rodriguez’s suspension appeal hearing continued Thursday, a few local lawmakers showed up to rally the troops at the request of chief protester Fernando Mateo, president of Hispanics Across America.
New York State Senator Adriano Espaillat wasted no time in blasting Major League Baseball and Commissioner Bud Selig, who has announced his intentions to retire in Jan. 2015.
“Major League Baseball has not done a good job of policing the steroid crisis, and it has festered under Bud Selig,” Espaillat told the crowd outside MLB’s offices in Manhattan, according to the Wall Street Journal. “He should step down immediately, today, right now. We shouldn’t allow him to just exit in so-called glory and retire. This is his asterisk. There is an asterisk next to Bud Selig’s name forever.”
Espaillat said Selig “should be embarrassed” by the Steroid Era.
“He wants to make us think that everything was fine and rosy under his watch. It wasn’t,” Espaillat said. “It was a disaster. It was a total disaster.”
State Senator Ruben Diaz called the 211-game ban handed to Rodriguez “discriminatory.”
The Yankees third baseman was the only player to receive a suspension more than 65 games for his reported connection to Biogenesis, the closed anti-aging clinic accused of distributing performance-enhancing drugs. Twelve other players accepted 50-game suspensions, while Milwaukee Brewers slugger Ryan Braun served 65 games.
Assemblywoman Gabriela Rosa said she wanted “a fair process. Nothing less, nothing more,” according to the Journal.
Meanwhile, MLB chief operating officer Rob Manfred wasn’t impressed by the show orchestrated by Mateo.
Hispanics Across America has put on an ongoing protest outside A-Rod’s hearing, complete with signs aggressively attacking Selig and Yankees president Randy Levine. HAA recently launched a petition website aimed at fighting the “injustice” of Rodriguez’s suspension.
“I have to be dismissive of comments from people who are clearly uninformed,” Manfred told the New York Daily News.
Manfred, a member of the three-person panel ruling on Rodriguez’s fate, reportedly testified on behalf of the league Thursday. A decision isn’t expected until well into the offseason.
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