Nightly News   |  January 11, 2014

A-Rod Strikes Out, Gets Year-Long Suspension

Baseball’s highest paid player is suspended for the entire 2014 season. What’s next for the 38-year-old? NBC News’ Ron Mott reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> tonight with big news from the big leagues , and word that baseball's highest paid player, alex rodriguez will pay a record-setting price for the alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs. a 162-game suspension, in a ruling today, the yankees slugger must sit out the entire upcoming baseball season. rodriguez is 38 years old and so that punishment has many wondering if the suspension will essentially end his career. rodriguez said today he will keep fighting. but as you can imagine, the ruling is reverberating across the world.

>> reporter: it is the longest such punishment for the doping. even though alex rodriguez never failed a drug test , the sweeping allegations led to other players tied to a defunct clinic.

>> it really sends a message to the athletes if the league wants to get rid of you they can get rid of you. there is no player bigger than the league for which he plays.

>> reporter: rodriguez issued a statement today about the ruling promising to fight in court, the deck has been stacked against me since day one, i have been clear i never used performance-enhancing substances as alleged. in new york, he surprised the radio host in studio shortly after storming out of a negotiating session when the baseball's chief arbitrator ruled that the commissioner, bud selig , did not have to testify in person.

>> today, i lost my mind and kicked a brief case and slammed out of the room. i knew the system was restricted and i knew it was not fair.

>> reporter: the season-long suspension will cost rodriguez about $25 million, leaving him owed more than $60 million. some say that collecting that money is at the heart of the battle, resulting in some testy exchanges, the team says they respect the panel's decision.

>> it is not over, it is not going away, rodriguez 's attorneys are defiant, he is defiant, they still feel he will play in 2014 and if they get an injunction, he could still do that.

>> reporter: at age 38, plagued by hip problems, questions arise if he is ending his career.

>> i am a yankees fan, i've been a yankees fan, i'm an a-rod fan.

>> reporter: a lightning rod of controversy and tension during his 20-year career, still highly charged.