Inside Alex Rodriguez's defense

(CBS News) New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez -- the highest-paid player in baseball -- is defiant, saying he'll fight a 211-game suspension.

Rodriguez is accused of taking part in baseball's most extensive doping scandal. The suspension could cost the game's highest paid player as much as $34 million and his legacy as one of baseball's greats.

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At a press conference at last night's game against the Chicago White Sox, Rodriguez -- who is allowed to play while he appeals the ruling -- said, "I'm fighting for my life. I have to defend myself. If I don't defend myself no one else will."

In a statement, Major League Baseball said the stiff penalty -- that would ban him through the 2014 season was "based on (Rodriguez's) use and possession of numerous forms of prohibited performance-enhancing substances ... (and) for attempting to cover up his violations."

Twelve other players accepted 50-game suspensions for their involvement, including all-stars Nelson Cruz, Jhonny Peralta and Everth Cabrera.

Rodriguez hasn't denied the charges, but has refused to back down.

For more on the Rodriguez and his recent return to the field, watch Don Dahler's report below.

So far, Rodriguez has not acknowledged anything, Jon Heyman, of CBSSports.com and a baseball insider for MLB Network, said on "CBS This Morning." He added, "Michael Wiener, the executive director of the Players' Association said that the penalties are too harsh, but they didn't say that he's innocent, they didn't say he's guilty at this point.

"I think (Rodriguez's) case, from what I hear, is that he deserves less than Braun. Ryan Braun, the slugger for the Brewers got a 65-game suspension. He had a failed test last year. Alex's case is he has never failed a test, never been suspended before -- that the harshest penalty to this date has been 100 games for a gentleman who failed multiple tests. So he's going to say he didn't fail any tests, he deserves less than Braun. That's his case, anyway."

The evidence against Rodriguez is "pretty extensive," according to Heyman. He said, "They haven't laid out the entire case but the suggestion is that he took steroids and HGH in multiple years, in 2010, 2011, and 2012.

Heyman continued, "There's also concern that he was kind of a ringleader here. A lot of these other fellows who have already pleaded guilty, if you will, are friends of his, ex-Yankees, people from Miami who hung out with him. And there's also a suggestion that he may have obstructed the investigation. I'm not sure that that part can be proved, but I think baseball feels that he tried to buy the documents, whether that means he's obstructing the investigation, we're not sure yet. But multiple years, multiple violations. And the fact is, in 2009 when he admitted, he said, 'Judge me from this day forward,' so they're pretty galled by the fact that they've got evidence that every year since then he has taken part in this."

Major League Baseball Players Association executive vice president Michael Weiner says it could be November or December before there's a decision on A-Rod's intended appeal. Under baseball's collective bargaining agreement, he's allowed to play while he fights the charges, which means he could be on the field for the rest of the season.

For more on Rodriguez and his case, watch the video at the top of this report.

  • Amanda Cochran

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