Donald Fehr, head of the Major League Baseball Players Association since 1983, will apparently ride of into the sunset with the equivalent of a Golden Parachute.
Fehr announced on June 22 that he would step down from his post sometime before the end of March next year, although an official date has yet to be determined. As reported by ESPN.com, according to a memo sent to the players last month, Fehr will receive a package worth $11 million when he finally takes his leave.
While the sum came as a surprise to some, including a number of players according to Curits Granderson, a member of one of the two union committees that reviewed the compensation package and recommended it to the union membership for a vote, the total does not appear to be unreasonable under the circumstances. Fehr has long refused raises offered by the union and his salary has been substantially below that of his contemporaries.
According to records filed with the U.S. Department of Labor, Fehr made $1 million a year from 2001-2008. His union counterparts at the NBA and the NFL saw their salaries increase from $1,282,475 to $3,465,933 and $900,000 to $3,774,577, respectively, during the same period.
Granderson told ESPN.com that he estimated 97 percent of the membership approved the deal. “At first there was a little ‘Why is it so much?’” said Granderson. “But as soon as everyone found out he hadn’t had a raise and then the comparison in salary to Bud Selig’s, I think the overwhelming majority voted in favor of it.” Selig is reported to have made $18 million last year.
Fehr told ESPN.com, “Obviously, I’m pleased and grateful for the vote they made.” The long-time union leader hasn’t announced his plans after he retires from his position with the players association, nor is it known if he will sever those ties completely.
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Jordan Kobritz is a staff member of the Business of Sports Network. He is a former attorney, CPA, and Minor League Baseball team owner. He is an Assistant Professor of Sport Management at Eastern New Mexico University and teaches the Business of Sports at the University of Wyoming.
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