With suspensions being announced in the Biogenesis case expected shortly in Major League Baseball, the matter of how and when those occur have been under the microscope. With the drug agreement between the league and the MLB Players Association as part of the labor agreement in baseball, walking the line on the technical aspects around confidentiality has been touchy.
Yesterday it was reported that because Biogenesis and the players implicated in the PED scandal has already surfaced in the media, a provision in the drug agreement will allow MLB to announce the suspensions, even though appeals through the grievance process have not been completed.
Today the MLBPA went on the offensive around reports regarding how long suspensions might be for Ryan Braun and Alex Rodriguez (reports have said the league could look to get 100 games for each of them based upon lying to the league about prior PED use). Major League Baseball Players Association Executive Director Michael Weiner issued the following statement regarding the leaking of Biogenesis-related information to the media.
“The leaking of confidential information to members of the media interferes with the thoroughness and credibility of the Biogenesis investigation. These repeated leaks threaten to harm the integrity of the Joint Drug Agreement and call into question the required level of confidentiality needed to operate a successful prevention program. The Players want a clean game and they demand a testing program that is not only the toughest in professional sports, but one that guarantees each player due process rights accompanied by strict confidentiality provisions. As I stated last month, the Players Association remains in contact with the Commissioner’s Office regarding the investigation, and they continue to assure us that no decisions regarding discipline will be made until the investigation is complete. It would be unfortunate if anyone prejudged the results of the investigation based on unsubstantiated leaks that are a clear violation of the JDA.”
Shortly after the statement was released, the union for the players quickly added clarification in which they said they had “no information about the source of the leaks” and that they “have no information that indicates MLB is the source.”
The statement by Michael Weiner was to “lament the fact that the leaks had occurred and to encourage the media and the public not to rush to judgment about any Player before MLB's investigation is completed and all of the Players' due process rights under the JDA are satisfied.”
In other words, indications are that the league will still move forward and announce the suspensions, but the duration of them will not occur until the due process through the appeals to arbitrator Fredric Horowitz is completed. With that it is possible that it could be months before players actually serving the suspensions, if they are upheld.
Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He writes for Baseball Prospectus and is a contributor to Forbes. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted here.
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