Alex Rodriguez remains committed to appealing the historic 211-game suspension handed down by Major League Baseball Monday in the Biogenesis probe.
Next up for the Yankees third baseman is an expected battle with MLB in arbitration with his career and reputation in jeopardy.
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David Cornwell, a partner in Gordon & Rees specializing in sports, media and entertainment practice in the firm's Atlanta office, figures to be a key figure as part of Rodriguez's legal team during the appeals process, which MLB arbitrator Fredric Horowitz will ultimately rule on in the coming months. Cornwell has a history of defending pro athletes in various legal cases.
"I don't expect to be standing anywhere other than in a conference room arguing on behalf of Alex and fighting for no discipline," Cornwell said during a radio interview last week.
"We believe that we have good, valid and strong defenses for Alex and we intend to present them when the time comes."
Cornwell represented Brewers star Ryan Braun during his successful appeal of a 50-game suspension for elevated testosterone levels in 2011. Shyam Das, the MLB arbitrator for 13 years, overturned the suspension in February 2012 due to a chain-of-custody dispute regarding the testing sample. Das was soon fired by MLB after overturning Braun's suspension.
Cornwell, who a source told Newsday in June no longer represents Braun, helped the Brewers outfielder become the first player in the history of MLB's drug program to have a suspension overturned.
Braun, however, also became the first player disciplined in the Biogenesis probe, accepting a suspension of 65 games by MLB on July 22. Twelve other players accepted 50-game suspensions from MLB on Monday.
Rodriguez remains the lone holdout and has until tomorrow to appeal the suspension. He can continue to play with the Yankees during the appeals process.
Michael Weiner, executive director of the Players Association, said during a conference call on Monday that a decision on the appeal could come in November or December.
"It is regrettable that the commissioner's office has taken this unprecedented action," Cornwell said in a statement after Rodriguez's suspension was announced on Monday. "Major League Baseball has gone well beyond the authority granted to its Joint Drug Agreement and the Basic Agreement. Consequently, we will appeal the discipline and pursue all legal remedies available to Alex."
In addition to Braun's high-profile case, Cornwell also has experience defending NFL players in drug test appeals. He successfully represented three NFL players facing discipline for "unintentional ingestion" of steroids linked to the infamous BALCO Laboratories.
Cornwell also has represented numerous athletes dealing with various disciplinary and legal issues, including Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, former Saints running back Reggie Bush and former Bengals running back Cedric Benson.