Major League Baseball announced yesterday that Alex Rodriguez would be suspended for 211 games for taking performance enhancing drugs and his role in the Biogenesis investigation. The details of the investigation have been widely covered, but there are a few lessons to be learned here, specifically regarding the way the Yankees are handling the situation. A-Rod has a reputation as someone who rarely says or does the right thing. Most of his decisions have proven to be wrong throughout his career. By appealing his suspension, he is perpetuating this reputation. I'm sure there are lawyers, agents, PR consultants, psychiatrists, and other members of A-Rod's inner circle encouraging the appeal. After all, he stands to lose in excess of $30 million if the suspension is upheld. But at some point, when does integrity come in to play?
This applies to the Yankees too, having missed a prime opportunity to display integrity last night. While I understand that their goal is to win baseball games, if I was owner Hal Steinbrenner, A-Rod wouldn't have played last night or any other night until the appeal is heard and decided. While I understand this is not a legal setting, when a criminal is found guilty, he's not allowed to roam free during the appeal process. He sits in jail. The Yankees should have instructed A-Rod to stay home, collect his salary, and not be a further distraction to the team. Instead, they released a statement that claims they support both the Drug Prevention Program and the appeal process. The statement is weak, at best.
I didn't watch the game last night. It was my personal, silent boycott. I may not watch the game again tonight. I am sure there are others who did the same, choosing not to support an organization that clearly has misplaced its moral compass. As a Yankee fan, I understand the compass is typically pointed towards winning at all costs, but this isn't about winning and losing. And it's certainly not about making money. I think the Yankees would probably make more money by cutting ties with A-Rod. This is about taking a stand against a man who has repeatedly cheated, lied about it, and carried himself as if he's above it all.
So what should have happened? A-Rod should have taken a deal, apologized and moved on. As a society, not matter the lie or transgression, we are typically ready to forgive public figures who apologize and show genuine remorse. Once he didn't, as I said, the Yankees should have benched him. Going forward, I think the Yankees should release him the day after the suspension ends, severing ties with one of the most polarizing figures ever to wear pinstripes.
I work for a company that talks about RISE Values, which stands for Respect, Integrity, Service, and Excellence and it's not just talk. The leadership of the company stands by those values. My partner and I have run our business similarly for the last 12 years, making the right decisions, not always the most profitable ones. I am of the opinion that whatever you put out in to the world comes back to you. It goes back to putting the client first, which I have discussed in the past.
The Yankees were having a great season, injuries notwithstanding. We should be focused on Mariano Rivera, a man of seemingly endless integrity, and his yearlong retirement party. Instead we are all talking about yet another amazing talent, that was supposed to break all of the hitting records, but went over to the dark side. I guess they don't call the Yankees the Evil Empire for no reason.