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Doping Defamation, Ex-Pitcher Claims

Defamation is the star charge in the new lawsuit by a former Major League pitcher whose sports-medicine clinic has been implicated by the doping probe.

MANHATTAN (CN) – Defamation is the star charge in the new lawsuit by a former Major League pitcher whose sports-medicine clinic has been implicated by the doping probe.

When the Biogenesis doping scandal erupted in 2013, Neiman Nix, formerly with the Cincinnati Reds and the Milwaukee Brewers, had been operating DNA Sports Performance Lab in Miami Beach for just a year.

South Florida soon became Ground Zero of the investigation, which left its mark on but never quite finished off Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez.

Nix insists his clinic was clean, and that he had no connection to Biogenesis, but says league investigators made baseless accusations to the contrary and shared these allegations with Nix’s former colleagues and clients.

This was the basis of tortious-interference claims that Nix brought against the league in July, but the Texas resident dismissed that federal suit in early November and Monday.

Now filing in Manhattan Supreme Court, Nix takes issue with the league’s response to his July lawsuit.

“Nix admits to selling products purportedly containing at least one banned performance-enhancing substance,” the league said, as quoted in the complaint.

Calling that statement defamatory Nix says he “has not sold nor did [he] admit to selling any substance which contained any banned performance-enhancing substance.”

The product in question, Nix says, was “biomedical to IGF-1 and approved for usage by the WADA,” short for the World Anti-Doping Agency.

Earlier in the complaint, Nix defines IGF-1 as a natural, nonsynthetic product derived from elk antlers.

“The antler’s velvet is scientifically shaved off and made into very potent liquids and creams using Nix's and DNA Sports Lab's scientifically developed methods to produce with a high ration of growth factors that naturally help the human body perform,” the complaint continues.

Nix again alleges tortious interference, saying one league executive event instructed the doping investigators “to falsely represent themselves to be or to be working with DEA and FBI agents.”

When Nix complained about such tactics, according to the complaint, a league investigator warned Nix to “drop it,” or else the league would have Nix criminally charged for making fraudulent misrepresentations to minors.

Formalizing hacking allegations from his July suit, Nix has also added a count under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

The league’s statement in July had blasted this charge.

"MLB considers the allegations in this lawsuit, including the allegations relating to the hacking of DNA Sport Lab's social media accounts, to be sanctionable under New York law,” its statement said, as quoted by the New York Times and other outlets.

The new complaint accuses the league of hacking Nix’s social media accounts for DNA Sports Lab, disrupting his ability to conduct business.

The company's YouTube page was suspended in March 2014 after it was flagged 17 times from an untraceable and/or fake IP address, according to the complaint, which says DNA Sports Lab is still banned to this day from posting on YouTube.

Nix is represented by Vincent White in New York City.

In addition to Major League Baseball, the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball is named as a defendant to the lawsuit, as is Commissioner Robert Manfred, former Commissioner Bud Selig, MLB's Vice President of Information Security and MLB investigator Awilda Santana.

Representatives for the defendants have not returned requests for comment.

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Categories / Business, Sports

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