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CNN Today

Players Association Challenges Atlanta Braves Pitcher John Rocker's Suspension

Aired February 10, 2000 - 1:23 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

DONNA KELLEY, CNN ANCHOR: Baseball commissioner Bud Selig testified before an arbitrator this morning about his decision to suspend Atlanta Braves relief pitcher John Rocker. The Players Association is challenging the suspension, a punishment for making derogatory comments about minorities.

CNN's Deborah Feyerick joins us with the latest on today's hearing in New York -- Deb.

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, hi there, Donna.

The arbitration hearing underway here at Major League Baseball headquarters. This morning, John Rocker left the Players Association and he jumped into a car with tinted windows for a two-block ride here. Once he got here, he was able to elude some cameras by slipping inside through a construction site at the side entrance.

Now his lawyer from the players' union says the relief pitcher's rights have been stepped on. And the lawyer says, even though his remarks offended people, that still has no bearing on whether this penalty is the right one.

Yesterday, baseball commissioner Bud Selig defended suspending Rocker, barring him from spring training, as well as the first month of games.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUD SELIG, BASEBALL COMMISSIONER: I did what I thought. I had to do what was right. And that's as far as I, you know, I'm very comfortable in this position.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FEYERICK: The head of Major League Baseball security was testifying this morning in front of the arbitrator. Of course, if Rocker is allowed back on the field, it could mean having to bring in additional personnel.

Afterwards, Rocker and his lawyer expected to testify as to why Rocker should be allowed to join his teammates for the opening of the spring training, which is just a week away. The arbitrator could rule perhaps as early as next week. Reporting live, Deborah Feyerick, CNN, New York.

KELLEY: Thanks, Deb.

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