New York Yankees star player Alex Rodriguez got a 211-game suspension from Major League Baseball that will begin on Thursday and will run throughout the rest of the year until the end of the 2014 season. The 38-year-old third baseman got the harshest penalty among the thirteen players suspended with the twelve others each getting slapped with a 50-game suspension.
The suspensions were handed out following a months-long investigation into their use of performance-enhancing drugs through Miami-based anti-aging clinic Biogenesis, which has since been closed. Rodriguez has denied the allegations and is bent on playing continuously as he appeals his punishment.
"I'm fighting for my life. I have to defend myself. If I don't defend myself, no one else will," A-Rod told reporters upon learning of the league's decision. It's especially tough for him considering he spent most of the season on the disabled list following an injury but has since undergone surgery and is now trying to fully recover with rehabilitative treatments.
According to league officials, the 211-game suspension, which is quite "unprecedented" in the history of the league, is based on both his alleged longtime use of performance-enhancing testosterone and human growth hormones plus efforts to "obstruct or frustrate" the investigations.
The recent allegation against A-Rod marks the second major doping scandal for the celebrity athlete, who had confessed back in 2009 that he used banned substances while playing for the Texas Rangers from 2001 to 2003.