Melky Cabrera Fails to Pull the Proverbial Wool over the Eyes of Major League Baseball with Fake Website
August 20, 2012
Though publicly apologizing to teammates, coaches, staff and fans of the San Francisco Giants for being on the receiving end of a positive testosterone test taken at the All-Star Game – a result which has subsequently earned Cabrera a 50-game ban that essentially ends his 2012 season – the New York Daily News reported Sunday morning the Giants’ outfielder employed “paid consultant” Juan Nunez to create a fake website advertising a supplement which then would be conveniently blamed for Cabrera’s testing positive for a banned substance.
Cabrera’s agents, Sam and Seth Levinson, released a statement to the Daily News denying any connection to the website scheme, with the latter writing in an email, “Sam and I absolutely had no knowledge or dealings with anyone at anytime associated with the website. I will state unequivocally and irrefutably that any payments made to the website did not come from [New York-based sports agency, Athletes' Career Enhanced and Secured, Inc.].”
Nunez corroborated the Levinson’s statements, telling the Daily News Saturday that he alone was “accepting responsibility for what everyone else already knows” regarding the development of the fraudulent website, and that Cabrera’s agents were not involved in any way.
“I was the only one who had dealings with the website,” Nunez commented. “Neither Seth nor Sam had any dealings with the website, nor did anyone else in [their] firm.”
Interesting enough, and despite its questionable nature, the site – which Nunez is said to have paid upwards of $10,000 to acquire – was included in a presentation Cabrera and his representatives made to MLB and the player’s union before Cabrera was officially charged for use of an illegal substance.
Writes the Daily News, “Cabrera was at that point hoping to repeat the success Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun found earlier this year in challenging the evidence [against him] in arbitration. Braun escaped a 50-game ban for elevated levels of testosterone by raising doubts about the collection and storage of the sample, setting a hopeful example for other players who test positive.”
MLB officials were quick to challenge the authenticity of the website produced by Cabrera, however, and, apparently with little effort, confirmed the original website had been altered, with an advertisement for the product – a topical cream that does not in fact exist – added after the site had been purchased by Nunez.
Player union representatives initially filed a grievance on behalf of Cabrera, which, according to ESPN.com, would have sent the case to arbitration.
Since news of the failed website scheme broke Sunday, however, that grievance has been dropped.
MLB, notes the Daily News, has yet to officially comment on this latest development in the Cabrera case, but commissioner Bud Selig allegedly spoke to the matter at a team owner’s meeting last week in Denver, telling attendees they would would be “shocked” to learn just what lengths Cabrera had gone to avoid punishment at the hands of baseball’s governing body.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy has also declined to speak at length on Cabrera’s situation, commenting only, “You can be world-class parents and your kids can go south or have some issues. We can’t follow guys 24/7, and it comes down to choices. [Cabrera] is a grown man, he’s a veteran.”
Bochy, preparing his team to take on the San Diego Padres on Sunday, also added, “These are unfortunate things and we’ll continue to work at cleaning out baseball.”
Yahoo Sports’ Kevin Kaduk writes in a separate article on the subject that Cabrera’s website has not only raised the eyebrows of MLB investigators, but also served to catch the attention of former Food and Drug Administration agent Jeff Novitzky, who previously ran the investigation into the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO) that ultimately led to a federal indictment of former Giants superstar, Barry Bonds.
Cabrera currently leads the National League with 149 hits and ranks second in batting average behind Pittsburgh’s Andrew McCutchen. He is batting .346 with 11 home runs and 60 RBIs in his first season in San Francisco and was considered a favorite in the race for this year’s National League MVP.