The Six Million Dollar Controversy

On May 1, 2015 Alex Rodriguez sent a laser shot over the Green Monster at Fenway Park, the home of the Yankees arch rival the Red Sox. As everyone knows this was a milestone home run since it was Alex’s 660th which tied him for fourth place with Willie Mays for career home runs. A contract signed in 2007 between Alex and the Yankees which I will call the milestone contract guarantees Alex six million dollars for various milestones. The first one was hitting his 660th home run. This agreement coincided with his 10-year $275 million contract extension following the 2007 World Series.


The Yankees claim that they no longer owe Alex the six million dollars and the milestone contract is null and void due to his suspension by Major League Baseball for his involvement with the Biogenesis PED scandal. Alex’s side argues his milestone contract is valid and the numbers are the numbers. Of course, as is the case in most contract disputes, this dispute will eventually wind up in the courts. A trial will benefit the media but would be very negative for both Alex and the Yankees.


Since Alex has reported to spring training he has been a model citizen. He has said all the right things and has backed it up with his play in the field. Until his recent slump he has been their best hitter and his game-winning 660th career home run was his sixth this year. Listening to the cheers he receives every time he comes to bat the Yankee fans have forgiven him and realize he is one of the major reasons their team is currently in first place. Watching his interview after the game and seeing him overcome with emotion, I also see him in a different light. I think he really wants to put his past mistakes behind him. His Yankee teammates have also accepted him and want Alex to be successful. They realize for them to reach the playoffs his right-hand power bat is needed. An ugly trial with the Yankees might result in undoing all these positives.


As for the Yankees a heated trial can have a negative effect on the Yankee players and consequently effect their run to the playoffs. I also think the Yankees are missing a very positive marketing situation. The American people are very forgiving and when a person humbly admits his mistakes and apologizes more likely than not they will be forgiven. If the Yankee management followed the lead of the Yankee fans and forgive Alex they would be seen as a forgiving parent. They should come out with a statement that they do not condone Alex’s PED use but that is in the past. They should then state they accept his apology and welcome him back into the Yankee family. A small celebration of his milestone should then be scheduled. The end result from a PR point of view would be they would get what they expected from the six million dollars in the milestone contract.


I think I have a solution to the problem. Yes, Alex has backed up his apology with his behavior and of course his batting successes. There are some critics who say it is easy to say the words I apologize but other actions are needed to back up the words. Here is my suggestion to Alex. I do not believe Alex needs the six million dollars. So Alex should start a charitable foundation with the six million dollars. The money in the foundation could then be used for many different charities. Think what this would mean for the new Alex’s reputation. Guess what!!! The Yankees would also benefit since they are now living up to the contract and their six million dollars will benefit many needed people. Believe me the billionaire Yankees won’t be hurt by losing the six million.

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