By now, I'm sure everyone has heard about Melky Cabrera's 50 game suspension for PED use that will knock him out of action for the rest of the regular season, and likely cost him millions in free agency. But before his suspension was announced, Cabrera had put together a fraudulent plan to absolve himself of the suspension by using loopholes in the CBA, much like Ryan Braun did…except Braun's loopholes were actually valid in his case, and not completely fabricated.
The New York Daily News has the full story, and it sure is a doozy.
The scheme began unfolding in July as Cabrera and his representatives scrambled to explain a spike in the former Yankee’s testosterone levels. Cabrera associate Juan Nunez, described by the player’s agents, Seth and Sam Levinson, as a “paid consultant” of their firm but not an “employee,” is alleged to have paid $10,000 to acquire the phony website. The idea, apparently, was to lay a trail of digital breadcrumbs suggesting Cabrera had ordered a supplement that ended up causing the positive test, and to rely on a clause in the collectively bargained drug program that allows a player who has tested positive to attempt to prove he ingested a banned substance through no fault of his own.
Yeah, that's right: Melky's genius plot was to have one of his "associates" create a website for a fake product, and attempt to pass it off as a complete misunderstanding on his part, and not his fault at all, vilifying himself in the eyes of fans and MLB officials.
Of course, the people at MLB didn't just immediately accept this excuse, and began asking questions about it during Cabrera's defense presentation. From there, everything quickly unraveled, and Cabrera was left without a leg to stand on.
This little incident may really hurt other players, too. Jeff Novitzky, the federal agent famous for discovering the BALCO and Radomsky steroid scandals, is now probing Juan Nunez, the Cabrera associate who created the website and used it as his defense. Nunez apparently helps Cabrera's agents, the Levinson Brothers of ACES, deal with their Dominican clients, but isn't a paid employee of the agency. Nunez is being probed personally, but the agency is in the clear.
ACES has a good amount of clients, but Cabrera is far and away the most significant Hispanic client of theirs. If some sort of scandal erupts from this situation with Nunez, it won't start encompassing big name stars. That's a very, very good thing, but the whole situation surrounding Cabrera's defense is just ridiculous.
[h/t: New York Daily News]