Alex Rodriguez regularly heard boos from the Yankee Stadium crowd as he stumbled down the stretch in 2013, but he apparently still has his fans.
The group Hispanics Across America says they will be staging a week-long rally outside of MLB Headquarters in midtown Manhattan to protest Rodriguez's 211-game suspension.
Rodriguez's arbitration hearing in order to get that suspension overturned began Monday.
“A-Rod has been drug tested more than any major league player and has never tested positive for the use of steroids,” said HAA president Fernando Mateo. “[Yankees president] Randy Levine and the New York Yankees are responsible for this unfair 211-game suspension.”
Mateo reportedly got in a scuffle outside MLB Headquarters Tuesday morning after he said a woman threw a cup of coffee at him.
Rodriguez was suspended by MLB, not the Yankees organization, on Aug. 5 along with 11 other players. They all received 50-game suspensions. Rodriguez was the only one to appeal.
He never tested positive under MLB's drug-testing program, but the founder of the Biogenesis clinic, Anthony Bosch, testified to the league that he had supplied Rodriguez with a host of illegal drugs over a period of years. Bosch's testimony will be used in the appeal hearing.
MLB levied a stiffer penalty on Rodriguez due to multiple factors. Rodriguez admitted to the use of steroids while he played with Texas. The league also cited his lack of cooperation in the investigation into Biogenesis.
“Rodriguez’s discipline under the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program is based on his use and possession of numerous forms of prohibited performance-enhancing substances, including testosterone and human growth hormone, over the course of multiple years,” MLB wrote in a statement on Aug. 5. “Rodriguez’s discipline under the basic agreement is for attempting to cover up his violations of the program by engaging in a course of conduct intended to obstruct and frustrate the Office of the Commissioner’s investigation.”
Mateo said he just wanted Rodriguez to be treated like the other players.
“The punishment does not fit the crime. A-Rod is innocent,” said Mateo. “If A-Rod is found guilty by association, a 50-game suspension like every first-time offender would be fair.”