New York Mets pitcher Jenrry Mejia has decided to go to war with Major League Baseball (MLB) over his lifetime suspension for anabolic steroids. Some people thought Mejia had a small chance of being reinstated if he humbly appealed the suspension and begged for leniency. Any chance of that happening seems remote now that Mejia has accused MLB officials of corruption and blackmail.
Mejia retained the Long Island law firm of White, Ricotta & Marks to help him put together a legal strategy for overturning the lifetime suspension against him. And the strategy is a doosey. Mejia and his attorney Vincent White have accused unnamed MLB officials of orchestrating a conspiracy to kick him out of baseball if Mejia refused to snitch on another individual under investigation for doping.
“I have my dignity,” Mejia said. “I can clear my name by myself, fighting my case, but I won’t clear my name throwing someone else under the bus.”
Mejia failed three anti-doping tests according to the official MLB narrative. In April 2015, Mejia was penalized with an 80-game suspension after stanozolol, also known as Winstrol, was detected in his first-time violation of the MLB Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. In July 2015, Mejia was suspended for 162 games for Winstrol and Equipoise in his second violation. In February 2016, Mejia was suspended for life after testing positive for Equipoise in his third and final violation.
In a press conference set up in the offices of White, Ricotta & Marks, Mejia challenged the MLB narrative with his own version of events. According to Mejia, he only failed the first drug test. The second failed steroid test was allegedly orchestrated to pressure Mejia into snitching on another individual targeted by the MLB. If Mejia didn’t cooperate, MLB would fabricate the results of yet a third failed steroid test that would lead to a lifetime suspension for Mejia.
“They asked me if I knew someone. I told them I couldn’t give them information on that person,” Mejia said. “They told me that if I appealed, they had a third test, they could check it, and if they found something in the third test, they could ban me for life, like they’re doing now, but if I didn’t appeal, they would leave me alone. I could go back to practice and come back to baseball after the second suspension.”
Like many good conspiracy stories, there may be an element of plausibility but, for the most part, Mejia’s story seems a little far-fetched and lacking in substantiation.
Not surprisingly, MLB issued a statement firmly rejecting Mejia’s allegations.
“Sadly, the comments made by Mr. Mejia and his representatives today continue a pattern of athletes hiring aggressive lawyers and making wild, unsupported allegations about the conduct of others in an effort to clear their names,” according to the statement. “Mr. Mejia’s record demonstrates that he was a repeated user of banned performance-enhancing substances. As such, per our collectively bargained rules, he has no place as an active player in the game today.”
The MLB Player’s Association (MLBPA) and his sports agent Peter Greenberg, the excecutive vice president of The Legacy Agency, have both declined to comment in support of Mejia. Nonetheless, the 26-year old Dominican pitcher has no regrets about his course of action.
“I wouldn’t change thing,” Mejia told the New York Times. “If the situation was meant to happen, then it was meant to happen. If God wanted it that way, it’s going to happen.”
“All you have to do is admit your guilt when you are guilty. And stay positive when you’re not.”