New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez answering questions from the media at a news conference in August, 2013. (AP Photo/Tom Mihalek)
Alex Rodriguez is suing Major League Baseball because he believes it has irreparably defamed his character. As his lawyers wrote, Commissioner Bud Selig has “improperly marshaled evidence that they hope to use to destroy the reputation and career of Alex Rodriguez, one of the most accomplished Major League Baseball players of all time.”
The thirty-three-page legal document’s central argument is the sterling character of the man himself. It catalogues A-Rod’s numerous charitable efforts, including the fact that he funded a new baseball diamond for the University of Miami, is on the University of Miami Board of Trustees and won “The University of Miami’s Edward T. Foote II Alumnus of Distinction Award.” (He never actually went to the school, but details, details.)
Subtle as The Walking Dead, this brief argues that Alex Rodriguez is such a beautifully charitable human being, there is no way he would ever be the sort of amoral cur who would lie, cheat and obstruct justice, as Selig claims.
I frankly have no idea what is true and what is not, although Bud Selig vs. A-Rod is like rewatching the 2000 vice-presidential debates between Dick Cheney and Joe Lieberman: you just want everyone to lose. I do however think it is telling that when it comes time to defend his character from defamation, A-Rod turns his legal guns on the statements emanating from Major League Baseball and not what people are saying about him ten minutes from my house.
I live just around the way from Langley Park, Maryland, part of Prince George’s County and site of one of the highest concentrations of Latino day laborers in the United States. In Langley Park sit 1,000 units of the Bedford Station, Victoria Station and Newbury Square housing complexes where many of these workers and their families live. The apartments are managed by a Coral Gables, Florida, company called Newport Property Ventures, which is owned by, you guessed it, Alex Rodriguez. According to A-Rod’s tenants, he is a “slumlord”, a “scumbag” and several phrases in Spanish that don’t have easy translations but involve using your own head to have a certain kind of sex with yourself.
The Washington Post did its own in-depth exposé of the three housing projects, describing the “hundreds” of complaints from residents ranging from massive rat infestation to layers of mold to a lack of ventilation that produces heat so overbearing residents sleep outside in the summer months.